posted May 16, 2015, 2:20 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 16, 2015, 2:20 PM ]
Nils is a 6 year old boy who has been seen at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic twice per week.  He starts each day at our clinic with a smile and has been a tremendous pleasure to work with during his time here.
Nils has had to overcome many health and developmental obstacles to reach where he is today.  He is a hard worker with a great disposition and wonderfully supportive parents.  Nils was born weighing only 4 pounds and very ill.  He had respiratory distress syndrome with pleural effusions, a significant heart murmur and pulmonary stenosis.  Nils was in the neonatal intensive care unit for the first month of his life and required oxygen treatments to treat his slow lung maturity.  He also had severe gastroesophageal reflux as well as feeding difficulties, which required him to eat via a feeding tube for the first 3 months of his life.  Nils was given a medical diagnosis of Noonan’s Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder with features that can include congenital heart malformation, short stature, learning problems, indentation of the chest, impaired blood clotting, and a characteristic configuration of facial features.
Noonan’s Syndrome can vary widely from person to person and Nils has made great gains over the course of his many treatments.  Nils began early intervention services at six months of age, which by the time he was 3 years old had included special education teachers as well as physical, occupational, speech and specialized feeding therapies.  At about 1 year of age, Nils had a gastronomy feeding tube placed for feedings to supplement what he was eating orally.  
When treatment began at this clinic, Nils had many oral motor delays.  These delays were a result of a lack of strength and coordination as well as sensory issues.  Nils was “orally sensitive” meaning that he didn’t like to be touched around or in his mouth.  Nils drooled consistently and lacked the oral control and sensory awareness to keep his mouth closed and swallow, as well as the strength and control to produce many speech sounds.  Nils was verbal, however he was hard to understand.  Nils also lacked control in his body and strength in his respiratory system to produce the pressure and volume needed to carry on intelligible conversation consistently.  At the same time, Nils’ language, academic and social skills were developing nicely.
Nils’ treatment focused on a mix of oral motor, articulation and language goals, all centered on helping him become a better, more clear communicator.  As time passed, Nils gained increased control and strength in both his oral musculature as well as his respiratory support for speech.  His sounds became easier to understand, he began using much longer sentences to express himself and many of his oral sensitivities decreased.  Nils is now working on more complex sounds such as /s/ blends like spoon and sweater and /l/ words like love and lollipop.
Nils’ mother was referred to our clinic by a parent in his Early Start program.  She stated, “Since beginning speech and language services here, Nils’ speech is very much improved.  He is talking in complete sentences and can communicate all his ideas by speech.”  She said, “The sessions work well with our schedule and Angela has a wonderful relationship with Nils.  She is able to work with him in a way that he thinks he is still playing.”  She stated, “It is very rewarding for our family to hear Nils communicate and try to speak clearly.”
Nils continues to receive speech and language as well as occupational therapies.  He continues to make great progress and is a very talkative young man.  Nils LOVES to play!  He often states, “Let’s play all day long!”  He enjoys trains, books, cars, dinosaurs, Scooby Doo and loves to talk about Star Wars.  He says his favorite food is sushi and loves to tell jokes and be silly.  Nils and his family are a true delight.