My son Logan is five-years-old and he’s obsessed with Star Wars, Minecraft, building with Legos, and lining up his Matchbox cars. He’s also autistic and has apraxia of speech. Apraxia of speech is where a person is unable to properly form words and sounds. This is not due to a lack of muscle strength such as in hypotonia, or inability to move the mouth, tongue, lips or jaw, such as in instances of paralysis. Apraxia is an issue with the brain not sending the correct signals. A child with apraxia of speech knows what they want to say but they are unable, this is why they often have very good receptive communication skills even when their expressive communication is greatly lacking.
Logan did not babble as an infant or even a toddler and he was mostly nonverbal until after his third birthday. Logan has been receiving services since he was a year old, and after four years of speech and auditory therapy, along with other therapies and classroom instruction in the special education program, he has come a very long way but it’s always constant work. Logan’s inability to communicate has caused him a lot of frustration. Imagine you know exactly what you want to say. You can think of it in your mind, but you can’t actually say it. When you try to speak the people to whom you are talking can’t understand. Even your parents, teachers, and caregivers can struggle to understand. Now imagine this is your reality every single day. I know that if I were in such a situation I’d feel defeated and lose the will to even try to communicate, but Logan never has. He has always worked very hard to make his point known. He uses signs and pantomimes and even his own version of sound effects to help those around him understand what he’s saying.
Why Apraxia Awareness Day?
“Raising awareness about apraxia is crucial to assuring that affected children and youth throughout the world are provided with the help that they need in order to fully realize their potential. With appropriate speech therapy and the support of family and community, most children with apraxia of speech will become capable verbal communicators. Without appropriate help, that possibility seriously diminishes. This is what is at stake,” Sharon Gretz, Executive Director of the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), tells WDRB.
Apraxia Awareness day can help children who struggle with childhood apraxia of speech by increasing the public’s awareness of apraxia. With more awareness comes more understanding and that helps everyone, including: those who have apraxia, those who care for someone with apraxia, and even those who may interact with someone with apraxia in public or at work or school. It can be hard living in a world like ours without the ability to speak, and helping children with speech difficulties have a voice is very important.
How You Can Help Raise Awareness about Apraxia
- Learn more about childhood apraxia of speech.
- Check out the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America.
- Follow CASANA on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with information and awareness efforts.
- The 2016 Houston Walk for Childhood Apraxia of Speech is happening in September and every donation counts!