Last week I had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) of meeting our new language therapist for the first time. I picked up Josh from school and we had a lunch date, then we headed to our new therapists office for our first appointment. I don’t know what I was expecting really, more bad news, more hopeless theories on why Josh is the way he is and how he won’t get better, or how this will always be an issue for him… I went into the office feeling like I needed to put on some boxing gloves and flex my shoulders a little. What happened in that office was not what I had expected. When she came out she sat down on the floor of the waiting room and began to play with Josh, not really talking to me though she did introduce herself to me, but rather all of her focus was on Josh. Josh, who is used to playing in the background while I talk to each therapist and give them a run down of his history, was surprised and pleased to be getting the attention and before I knew it he was chatting up a storm wit her. A normally very shy child with strangers, he doesn’t talk to anyone he doesn’t know well. Instead, by the end of the appointment she had four (count them – four) pages of notes of things that Josh had said. Everything Josh said, she wrote down word for word and because of this she was able to look back and see exactly what he is saying. The problem? He has a processing disorder, imagine information going into the ear, and the getting put through a food processor and being scattered about the brain. Then imagine a file system (yours and mine being very organized and orderly – animals in one file, food in another etc.) Josh’s files are all out of order and disorganized. The plan? Reorganize the files and find a way around the food processor. My question of course is how?
During the session she did all kinds of games with Josh, and when she wanted him to say something she would say the sentence using different intonation in her voice, and to my amazement he would repeat her word for word, clearly, almost perfectly. Why? Well, it would seem that by using different intonation you can create new pathways in the brain, bypassing the damaged areas and making new paths for him. This astounds me. I have always heard of a ‘plastic brain’ but the longer I have watched Josh struggle the less I fully believed in it.
This therapy, (or as I call it… this God send) is going to take time. I will also need to learn how to use this form of therapy at home, and building these new paths will take time. However, the hour and half she had him on Thursday proved more useful, more powerful, more sucessful than I have ever seen in any of this therapies thus far! What will the outcome be? We don’t know. It will take time and money and she can’t promise a full recovery but is there hope? YES! She believes there really is hope, and though she says he may always have some problems communicating she joked that he’s a male and will probably have that problem anyway :).
In other news… the MRI results are in and show that Josh has had no new strokes but he does have ‘swollen mastoid cells’ which may account for his balance and co-ordination issues that our Physio therapist was concerned about. As you can imagine this is a huge relief to us and we are so thankful to God for the positive results and for our new therapist! God is good… all the time.