Like Sound Through Water : A Mother's Journey Through The Auditory Processing Disorder
Ben was a bright, happy little boy. Yet he was easily distracted, he wouldn't make eye contact, and he couldn't comprehend the simplest things said to him. At age three he still hadn't started talking. Finally, Karen Foli knew she had to act, and she took her son to a speech and hearing clinic.
What the clinicians reported chilled her: Ben's speech and language were delayed by one to two years. Testing results and speech therapists suggested problems that included the words "probably retarded and perhaps autistic." But Karen, trusting her mother's intuition, knew that Ben was intelligent and that he was frustrated by his inability to communicate, so she continued to try to help her son. She discovered that he possessed the hallmarks of auditory processing disorder, the aural equivalent of dyslexia.
Like Sound Through Water is the story of Karen's struggle to get Ben the help he needed to learn the most basic skill of all: to communicate with the world. She ran the gauntlet of medical disbelievers and pediatric therapists who refused to understand the very new Þndings of auditory processing disorder. Even her husband, a psychiatrist specializing in children's afþictions, had never heard of APD. Despite this, he kept a steadfast faith in his son.
Now, after years of intensive treatment for APD, Ben is an academically successful, hardworking little boy with a bright future to look forward to. Like Sound Through Water is a testament to a mother's love and her devotion to her son's care; it is also an instructive journey for those who are discovering the world of APD and a guidebook to negotiating the land mines of its treatment. Above all, it is a beautifully written tale of hope and optimism.
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July 22, 2003
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Excerpt from Like Sound Through Water by Karen J. Foli
I pushed one final time and felt a tremendous release of pressure. Ben burst into the world, and I heard him gasp his first breath of air. A few seconds later, when he was nestled against my tummy and I counted ten fingers and ten toes, I felt an intense psychological relief that my baby was healthy. Healthy. That's what I believed.
"He looks good," my doctor proclaimed, her eyes excited above the blue surgical mask.
My husband, John, hovered above me and smiled.
"He's okay?" I asked.
And as my eyes met Ben's -- a precious first connection -- I thought so, too.
The pediatrician came into my hospital room the next morning and echoed the same opinion. Ben's Apgar scores had been high immediately after birth, meaning his circulation and respirations were good. Aside from his high bilirubin count, which caused his skin to have an orange/yellow tint or jaundiced appearance, he seemed fine. Ben was released with me to go home. The following three mornings, John and I brought Ben to the hospital for a blood test that checked his bilirubin count. It never exceeded the point that would have required Ben's hospitalization. We pushed fluids -- formula, since my milk hadn't come in fast enough. Ben's body needed to cleanse itself of the bilirubin as soon as possible. The fourth day's blood draw showed a dramatic improvement in his levels. And again, I celebrated the health of my firstborn.