Well, I got Noah’s assessment/evaluation report back from his new speech therapist last this week.
I read through it in the speech therapist’s office during Noah’s appointment. Kind of hard to hold back the tears.
(A lot of this is pretty technical and maybe uninteresting, but writing (typing) really helps me process it all. I won’t hold it against you if you duck out of this post early.)
The therapist said it was pretty consistent with the diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Noah underwent the PROMPT Neuro-Motor Speech Assessment, the Oral and Written Language Scales – 2nd Edition, the Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence and the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology.
The evaluation report is broken down into the following sections (I’ve summarized most of this)
Physical-Sensory Neuro-Motor Speech – Noah’s mouth and face is physically within normal limits except for a high and narrow hard palate. Noah had difficulty with imitating lingual (tongue) motor movements. Noah improved when movements were demonstrated for him visually. He was able to round his lips with tactile kinesthetic support (therapist’s hands on Noah’s mouth/face). Diadokokinesis – “Noah was able to produce p^p^p^ and t^t^t^ verbal approximations with decreased rhythm. He was not abl eto generate k^k^k^, p^t^p^t^p^t^, nor p^t^k^p^t^k^.”
Summary: Noah’s oral muscles are normal structurally, but he lacks the functional control required for speech.
Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology score – .1%. Percent of consonants correct = 18%. So he’s on the chart, but just barely. This score is measured against typically developing peers.
MOTOR SPEECH/PROMPT Assessment – Adequate to low global tone – this is a good finding for a person with Down syndrome. Noah’s global tone is relatively good. Phonation and breath support are adequate. /a/, voiceless phonemes and nasals /m/ can be produced. Consistent resonance. No hyper/hypo nasality. Jaw does not demonstrate controlled degrees of freedom. Overexcursion noted. Anterior and lateral jaw sliding. Lips do not move independently from jaw. Lips do not demonstrate consistent control for appropriate protrusion and retraction. Tongue does not move independently from jaw for anterior to posterior lingual contractions. All oral muscles move appropriately during connected speech. Facial muscles do not show appropriate combined alternating movements. All muscle groups do not exhibit symmetrical movement, independent and coordinated functioning in connected spontaneous speech. Timing for co-articulation is normal for age.
COGNITIVE – LINGUISTIC – Expressive-Receptive Language – (again measured against neuro-typical peers) – He wasn’t even on the charts for oral expression, listening comprehension was at the .1 percentile.
Summary: Severe expressive-receptive language disorder. Strengths in the area of comprehension of simple linguistic concepts – quantitative, spatial, pronouns and colors. Increased use of symbolic representation skills – parallel play, symbolic play and pretend play. (Let’s hear it for Miss Lindsey and Michelle who worked on all this stuff so hard with Noah!!!!) Noah was also able to follow 1-2 step commands with the use of gestural cueing.
Weaknesses – Comprehension of more difficult linguistic concepts as well as use of verbal communication output.
PTONI – Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence. This is the one that killed me. This test evaluates Noah’s general reasoning ability. “The PTONI provides information about a child’s general intellect.” Noah’s score did not even register in the percentile ranks – it was so low (11). This puts him in the category of “Very Low.” See, when you look at the current research on people with Down syndrome, their degree of intellectual disability now expected falls in the mild to moderate range. “Very Low” means to me he’s probably even further down the curve than average Down syndrome. I know, I shouldn’t care about these things, but this is my kid we’re talking about here. I should ask for clarification from the speech therapist on my assumptions about these scores.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL General Behavior Observation:
Attention – appropriate level of arousal and age-appropriate focus to tasks. (YAY ) Minimal redirection and modeling was given for start-to-finish sequences and unfamiliar motor/action schemas.
Rate of Processing/Responding – Processing Rate seemed appropriate but inconsistent. He responded to his name but did show difficulty with imitation of oral motor sequencing.
Emotional Control/Affect – Appropriate. (YAY)
Drive/Motivation: Noah present with increased motivation and curiosity for social engagement or joint interactions and/or routines. YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY (It’s in his blood, by the way – thanks, Mom!)
Memory: Within Normal Limits (YAY – this is HUGE in learning)
Highlights of the summary – Noah was pleasant, transitioned easily, cooperated, motivated. Participated in turn taking. Adequate communication intent and sustained focus to tasks with appropriate affect. Noah appeared to enjoy his interaction with the clinician. Use of communication for behavioral regulation (requesting/protesting) falls in the verbal category. (YAY!!!! We’re finally out of “nonverbal.” Hallelujah! Communication for comfort, greeting, calling , requesting permission and showing off and joint attention, commenting requesting, providing information fall in preverbal to verbal category. (I’ll take it!)
IMPRESSION – Severe cognitive-linguistic language disorder. Severe neuro-motor speech disorder.
Mom’s impression: This report reads like a gosh-dang prescription for PROMPT therapy.
Sigh. So much for hoping for mild to moderate. I haven’t had the heart to Google any of this stuff. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It won’t change anything. And really, interpreting and summarizing all this has allowed me to see some encouraging things (hence the YAY YAY YAYs). The first read was a bit like a kick in the teeth, if you know what I mean.
Please pray for Noah – for the words of his heart – and for his momma too – that she might have a little wisdom and discernment in what to do to help her courageous hero.
Thanks and Blessings,