Three-year-old Tanner, standing in the bathroom of his family's New Jersey home picked up a pink
comb, pointed to a yellow stripe that ran through it, and said, "Lellow."
It was the first 'real' word he had ever spoken and it came after just
three weeks of supplementation. "I almost fell over," says his delighted
mother, Lisa Geng. "It was the breakthrough we had been waiting for. It
was incredible." Within a few days, Tanner's vocabulary increased to seven
words. Within five weeks, he had mastered twenty-two words.
Tanner, during his first year of
life, had seemed like a normal, healthy baby and by the age of eleven
months was babbling normally and saying "ma" and "da." Then, after a bout
of very high fever, he stopped talking. Photographs show an unsmiling
two-year-old. "No matter how hard the photographers tried he just would
not smile. He was lethargic," says Lisa. Typically, everyone kept telling
her that he was just a late talker, but Lisa and her family became increasingly
concerned and pushed for a hearing and speech evaluation. Four months
of speech therapy led to an official diagnosis of severe apraxia of speech.
Tanner was two years, eight months old. During the four months of speech
therapy he had learned to say basic sounds such as "sh," "ch," "t," and
"s" with some prompting. He had learned how to blow bubbles and could
move his mouth more than before. But he found it impossible to take the
"ch" sound and put it together with the "oo" sound to make "choo."
As soon as they heard that Tanner
was apraxic, Lisa and husband, Glenn, began to search for information. "We were shocked to find out how little support and information there
was at the local level, and this was in a fairly affluent area close to
New York," says Lisa. In desperation, the couple turned to the Internet
and discovered the apraxia-kids listserv. After reading other parents'
positive comments about LCP supplementation and consulting Lisa's aunt,
a retired nursing teacher at Long Island University, they decided to give
it a try.
Three weeks later they were thrilled
with the results of that decision. "I know that it can take as long as
three months of supplementation for any benefits to be noticed but we
saw results with Tanner in three weeks. I'm not exaggerating," says Lisa.
Tanner's Early Intervention therapist told them that he had become "a
different child" and the therapist was so impressed that she began recommending
LCP supplementation to other patients.
Lisa and Glenn, however, took him
off supplementation for a while when he was going through testing for
the disabled preschool program in their home town. "His improvement had
been so dramatic we were actually afraid that he would test too well to
be accepted," says Lisa. The result was calamitous. "It was the saddest
thing. We will never do that to him again. The poor little thing was no
longer able to say as much, and he just didn't seem to learn. He wasn't
able to 'parrot' us like he had when taking the supplements. And for the
first time he was frustrated to the point of tears."
Back on supplementation, Tanner
showed steady improvement and broadened his vocabulary. Adds Lisa, "He's
able to say many things now. Just last night he looked at his daddy, and
said, 'Love you.' What a wonderful moment that was." Lisa says that the
only negative is trying to get Tanner to actually take the supplements
because of the fishy taste. She does her best to disguise it by mixing
the contents of the capsules with cereal and other foods.
Lisa and Glenn became so interested
in helping Tanner and other kids like him that they started a non-profit
organization, Children's Apraxia Network, based at the Children's Specialized
Hospital in Mountainside, New Jersey. One of the group's main goals is
to raise funds to enable parents of "late-talking children" to have consultations
with speech language pathologists when their kids are at an earlier age.
Says Lisa, "What parents hear is, 'Wait until he's three and then we'll
run some tests.' That's too late when a child has a real problem and should
be getting treatment earlier."
LCP Solution Book