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Ashlyn is 4 years, 4 months old today 5/17/07.

Here are a few new videos...

Reading book on 5/29/07

Singing Old McDonald had a farm

January 2007 playing with Dora toys

Before 1st Swim Lessons

Let Ashlyn's mother, Cynthia, know what you think of her speech, by writing to her at

Ashlyn is 3 years, 3 months old today 4/27/06.

This first video was just taken last night (4/26/06). Ashlyn finally sang her first full song "no more monkeys jumping on the bed". She usually just sings the first line and stops.

The 2nd video was taken two weeks ago (4/2/06). This is me pointing at pictures and Ashlyn saying the words. I repeated the words so someone could hear what she was trying to say. (You will note that even in bed reading a book, she still can't sit.)

Let Ashlyn's mother, Cynthia, know what you think of her speech, by writing to her at

Ashlyn's Story
by Cynthia Schauss

My daughter's name is Ashlyn. We were given a "working diagnosis" of Apraxia at 2 years and 2 months of age. What I mean by working diagnosis is that she is so young the therapists have a hard time telling whether it is apraxia or a delay. We reviewed a checklist of early signs of apraxia with our therapist and Ashlyn had 12 of the 15 signs. The therapist says she is still young enough that "reprogramming" her brain/mouth to learn to speak should be easier than if she were older and definitely diagnosed with apraxia. She is currently enrolled in the early childhood special education program through our school system and attends regular classroom session 5Xs a week. She receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy while in school.

We have always thought our daughter's mouth wasn't quite functioning properly. When Ashlyn drank a bottle as an infant, she always had a lot of milk leaking/draining out the side of her mouth. She didn't smile or giggle much until about a year of age. At two years of age, she is still drooling frequently. Ashlyn started speaking a few words very clearly at 18 months of age (pretty, kitty cat, hat). Sometime in between 18 and 24 months of age, she started loosing any clear language that she once had. At 2.4 years of age, Ashlyn was trying very hard to speak. Her words just didn't come out clearly. Thank you was "a-u", Please was "cheese", Cup was "uh", counting 1-5 was "un, uw, ee, ive" (skips 4), where did it go was "er'd o", Done was "un", etc.

At 2.7 years of age and 6 months in therapy. Ashlyn had very little progress. She was definitely trying to speak. Things just didn't come out clearly. She says, "r meen" for you are being mean (she says this when she get time outs) - "I un auty" for I am not naughty - "no no no auty og" for no no no naughty dog (she says this when our dog takes food from her) - "er'd o" for where did it go - "hr'd es" for here it is - "p u up" for pick me up. We were just basically trying to learn her language which 90% of the time makes no sense to us.

At 3.3 years of age, Ashlyn is finally "going to town" with regards to speech. She is finally talking all the time. Her teachers and daycare can only understand her about 15% of the time. Her articulation is horrible. But, she is finally making some GREAT progress.

Ashlyn's receptive language is OK for her age (30 months), but her expressive language is that of a 24 month old. She is also slightly behind in cognitive development. She tested at the level of a child 32 months of age.


The last year (2006-2007) has just been a worldwide of information for our family. We have been dealing with Ashlyn's speech problems since the age of 2. She is now 4 years 4 months old. We've had so many unaswered questions and decided to go for a full blown neurological/psychological evaluation. We did every blood test imagineable along with brain and spinal MRIs. Everything came back negative, but it still left us with questions.

This lead us to wonder whether maybe Ashlyn had Autism. She had so many classical signs of autism. (Speech Problems, Spinning Herself, Pointing, Grunting, Sensitive to Certain Types of Touching, Walking on Tip Toes, etc.) We took Ashlyn to an autism diagnostic clinic. She was evaluated for a full day by a team of doctors. Good news...they came back saying that Ashlyn was too social and they did not suspect autism. BUT...they did see some areas of concern. First of all, they suspected she has severe ADHD. They also saw concerns with dystonia and paraparesis. Basically, some of her muscles don't seem to function properly or the muscles seem a bit lazy. These would be the muscles in her mouth, hands, legs...pretty much her whole body. We had spent so much time focusing on her speech, we did not realize these other problems were so severe. One thing I never realized is that apraxia is more of a symptoms than a diagnosis. I did not know that a child with ADHD could have a symptom of apraxia.

In turn, this lead us to a complete educational psychological evaluation. A doctor spent lots of time testing and playing with Ashlyn. After about 5 lengthy visits, the doctor procedes to tell us that Ashlyn has one of the most severe causes of ADHD that she has ever seen in a pre-k child. Ashlyn tested above the charts in all areas of ADHD (except one). She then told us that she did not think Ashlyn would be able to learn without medication to control her symptoms. (This was such a mind blowing event for us...we never wanted to medicate our child.) After researching medications, consulting with our pediatrician, and contemplating our feelings, we decided to give medication a try. When Ashlyn turned 4, she could not count, say her alphabet, say her colors, draw, etc. After 4 months of medication, she can now say her alphabet with prompting, she can count to 8, and she knows most of her colors. And...miraculously...she is talking in sentences...YEAH! Her speech still needs to be prompted lots and her articulation is horrible, but we feel our communication gap is fairly minimal now.

All in all, the one thing we have learned is that these muscles problems seem to effect Ashlyn's speech. AND...the ADHD only amplifies the problems. Now that we are treating the ADHD the speech seems to be coming along a little better.

Currently, Ashlyn is in an early childhood special education pre-k classroom. She goes to school 5 1/2 days/week. She receives ST/OT/PT at school. During the summer, we also seek private ST 2 days/week and OT 1 day/week.

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