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apraxia and signing

Forum: Children with Special Needs


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April 12th, 2010, 10:04 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 6,791
At Jonah's speech therapy last week, I pointed out that Jonah adapts his signs very oddly. Children who learn sign language will typically change the sign so that it is easier for them to do. So like "banana" is putting your index finger up and acting like you are peeling it with your other hand, like it's a banana. Jonah can't do that, like a lot of children can't, so he adapted it to just rubbing his thumb with his other hand.

Well some of the signs that he adapts, are signs that I have never in all my ten years of working with infants and sign language, seen a child adapt. "Thank you." is a very easy sign for children. It is just bringing your hand from your mouth, downward. He can't do that. He puts his hand kind of like he's saying "I dunno!!!" He also can't do "flower" "cracker" "help" He does them in his own little way, but his way is very strange. This signs all involve crossing at least one hand over the midline.

Jonah won't sign for his speech therapist. He only signs at home. The only therapists that have seen him signing are the two that have come to our home to observe him. They are always so shocked at how much he signs at home!!!! So anyway, I took some videos of him doing all of the signs that he does in a weird way, and I showed them to the speech therapist (Thank goodness for our world of digital technology, right?) and she agreed that it is very strange, and suggested apraxia right off the bat after seeing those.

I don't know if anyone here (maybe a lurker???) has dealt with apraxia, or apraxia testing, but I'm just wondering if his weird signing really is a marker for it, or if he could just be really uncoordinated and not be able to cross the midline for certain things. He has trouble eating with a spoon, and I have noticed over the weekend that if he wants something on his left side, he will pick it up with his left hand and then put it to his right hand rather than reaching for it with his right hand to begin with (he could have reached it with his right)

We have an evaluation with a different occupational therapist on the 29th to look at this. I'm just wondering.... apraxia (at least my understanding of it) doesn't seem to fit. I'm wondering if we should be exploring other areas. I just want to make sure we are doing everything we can for him

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April 14th, 2010, 12:37 AM
~~~Sara~~~'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: So. California
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You are very on top of things, good for you. I am sorry I don't know the answer to your question.
We have been signing to Carter for about 18 months and are waiting still for him to sign back.

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April 14th, 2010, 10:59 AM
quietsong's Avatar Just Another Slacker Mom
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Location: Missouri
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I often wonder about apraxia for Danny, but the few times I've mentioned it with our teacher of the deaf, she dismisses it...so I don't know a whole lot about it. However, I would think that odd and adapted signs could also be more muscular, you know? We've just started to introduce some signs with Danny, so I don't have that as an exact example, but gross motor games Danny always just does a little differently. He didn't start clapping until probably 6 months ago, and plays peek a boo with his hands on his cheeks instead of his eyes a lot of the time...but he has low muscle tone, so it's a control thing, he doesn't have the exact control to mimic physically like a lot of babies do.

When I saw the title of this, I instantly thought of Ethan and this blog:
Ethan's World

Heather has her email right on the blog page... You might email her, introduce yourself, and ask her about it. Ethan was born with the same virus Danny was, and he has been diagnosed with speech apraxia. He signs as well. Heather's a great lady and is pretty open and happy to help; I found her not too long after Danny came home and she was wonderful sharing what she'd been through at that point with his CMV journey.

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April 16th, 2010, 12:18 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 6,791
Thanks Ladies.

Kel, I'm going to check that blog out right now. I guess I just shouldn't stress out over it until we see the new therapist to see what she has to say about it. Stress can't do any good, and I don't need it right now LOL I just can't help but wonder. It's weird, because he can sign "eat" which is bringing his hand to his mouth, but he can't sign "thank you" properly, which shouldn't be too different. Maybe he is just different all around

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April 19th, 2010, 10:23 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2005
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My son has generalized apraxia which is apraxia that effects all aspects of his development.

It affects his speech and oral motor planning, and also his fine and gross motor skills

crossing midline can be a marker for apraxia and his adapting signs can also be. one positive thing I read in your post was that he is able to transfer things from one hand to the other. Doesnt mean its not apraxia but does show that he can work hard to over come it. The OT will be able to evaluate for all of those things as well. Apraxia can also affect balance and ball handling skills as they get older.

If you have any other questions about it feel free to ask

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