Apraxia Therapy

Every time I hit the apraxia boards, there is talk of using this and that for alternative therapies. Especially popular is a drink that is ment for weight loss but is high in fish oil. People have reported success with it. I,understandably, hesitate to give my child a highly processed very expensive drink that may or may not work. However, I have found several ideas that have worked really well for out family. Some of them are "duuuuh" and some of them are, "Huh. Worth a shot."

Every therapy my son partakes in has been approved by a team of medical professionals who know my son well. Included in this are our local birth to three program, his primary care doctor, speech and OT, and our chiropractic team, who have known PuddinPie since before he was born. Just because this works for our family and my child does not mean it will work for you. Please consult your medical teams before trying anything.

1. A healthy, well balanced diet- Yeah, yeah my kids eat at McDonald's. Yeah, yeah, PP says, "moo" when he wants to go to Chik fil A. That's all part of having a balance in life. However, for the most part, we eat at home and I try to serve a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains and the like. We shop at Trader Joe's, Aldi and Sam's. I won't say most of our diet is organic (it isn't) but we strive for low-processed. I don't do many boxed dinners like Hamburger Helper and we try to avoid HFCS, trans fats and so forth. I add wheat germ and flax seed to most of our baked goods. This is one thing I think anyone can and should do, even without the doctor's permission!

2. Fish oil- I have heard many parents claim their kid has been cured or improved greatly while being on fish oil. I think taking fish oil is part of an overall healthy diet but I do NOT think it will cure apraxia. Can it help? Sure. Again, it is part of an overall brain healthy diet. However, I began taking mega doses of fish oil the day after I found out I was pregnant with PP. I took my last dose less than 24 hours before my water broke. I believe it was one reason his cord and placenta were so healthy and he was so big (six pounds, eight ounces at 35 weeks); he was well fed. (Fish oil can act as a blood thinner and thus increases the flow of blood to the baby.) I also took fish oil while breastfeeding him and he began to take it on his own as soon as he could chew vitamins. If fish oil was a magical cure all, my son wouldn't have a neurological based problem.

That said, I highly encourage you to speak to your doctor about adding fish oil to your child's diet. All my kids take fish oil gummy vitamins (that's the brand they prefer). Outside of Lent, we don't eat much fish around here, so these vitamins are one of the few ways they get fish in them. After speaking to our chiropractor, I upped PP's dose to 3 gummies a day; the other children take two. I made sure all the medical professionals know he is on fish oil because, again, it can act as a blood thinner.

4. Hippotherapy- Nope, not hippos! Horses! Although people commonly think of uses horses to help children with CP or muscle problems, hippotherapy can be used for a variety of special needs, including Autism, ADD/ADHD and apraxia. I looked into it for PuddinPie because he loves animals and is very motivated by them. I knew the work the OT would do for him would help his SPD too.

We did eight weeks of hippotherapy. During that time he learned not only to take ownership of the therapy by getting on the horse (mostly) by himself and bringing his helmet and belt to the therapist. He would jabber and jargon the whole time we were there and interacted well with the therapists, something that was new for him. He even had his first conversation with me when we were at the barn!
Hippotherapy Research Articles
What is it and how does it work?
Introduction to Hippotherapy

5. Cranial work- Our chiropractor is very gifted and does alot of cranial work on children. She is very familiar with PP so I didn't look any farther than her office. If you don't have someone who can do CST, you will need to call around and get recommendations.

I have trouble explaining CST to people without making it sound silly. However, it works. I've seen our dr gently manipulate and "rub" his head and he reacts by becoming still, leaning in and relaxing. It's something I cannot duplicate at home. She's given me an accurate behavior assessment without me telling her how our day went, (ie, "He's very overwhelmed today" on days when we have been having sensory meltdowns) or that he's been speaking more. It is really amazing.

6. Speech- no matter what you do, don't stop speech therapy with a therapist who is experienced with CAS.

7. ECSN preschool- We are lucky that our local school has a program for kids like PP. His teacher is experienced with apraxia and the postive peer pressure has been awesome for him!

In the next few months, we will be adding TKD and perhaps a gym class to his activities. Hippotherapy is over for the winter. Right now, he's still adjusting to school and that routine. I think we'll go back tot he horse farm in the spring and maybe look into music classes. I really feel like this more holistic approach is helping PP- we've seen alot of growth in just a few months!