This is a letter I sent to my family, but I thought I'd share it on my blog, so that we could enlist all of you for prayer!
I wanted to ask you to pray for Justus. We have recently started Justus in Speech Therapy, as you probably know. Rusty and I have been contemplating what is really going on with his speech. His frustration level has really escalated the last 2-3 weeks, and he is somedays filled with rage! He gets so angry that I don't understand what he wants sometimes, and he is hitting me and throwing things A LOT! He knows, with 100% certainty, that he will get a spanking for this. But he has no self-control. He is so frustrated! As you can imagine, I am frustrated too.
It seems pretty clear to us that Justus is not just exhibiting a normal speech delay. His receptive language has always been awesome, but his expressive language is hardly improving. He is really bright, so we are not at all worried about his IQ, but still he rarely intiates speech. He probably intiates 5 words in a day, with a total of maybe 12 words that he's able to say. I don't know if anyone else could recognize these "words" like we can. He has NO names for his brother and sister, who he's with his every waking moment, and no name to request his paci, still can't say the words he has been signing since he was barely a year old, etc. These are things he should definitely be saying on his own! There are so many reasons why we are feeling like this is more than a speech delay. (I could elaborate, but am trying to keep this brief.) I didn't retain everything from college, but just enough to have a slight edge in this area. (All this loan money should be worth something!) Obviously, Rusty has so much to offer in knowing what is on target developmentally as well. We know that it is no mistake that God put Justus in our family! Praise the Lord!
We spent several days praying before we approached his speech therapist with this. I was afraid, because he is so young, and nobody wants to diagnose a two-year-old with anything, that a SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) might dismiss me and say to give therapy more time. However, this could definitely change his management, and I don't want to waste another year in therapy, and him be a three-year-old who is hardly improved. So I prayed, and I approached this cautiously. But our prayer was fruitful, because our SLP, Brandi, seemed very open to this idea. (She and I were actually in school together at Baylor.) The Speech Disorder we think is a possibility is Speech Apraxia. (You can look at the website http://www.apraxia-kids.org/) But we truly are not qualified to make any assumptions. Only an SLP can do that. Thankfully, she was anxious to think about it, gather more info. on him, she listened to me, and she wants to research and talk to other SLP's. I could not ask for more.
Please pray for Brandi, that God would guide her and use her. Pray that we would find the right approach to help Justus communicate better. We are doing more signing, as suggested for kids with Apraxia, using the total-communication approach. Communication is my top priority!
More than all of that, pray for his healing. God can definitely give our little brown bear words if He chooses to. We know, no matter what, that God is going to use this all for His glory.
Thanks for loving Justus, and your prayers will mean so much!