Apraxia Monday: Home is where it all happens

If you were like me when I first learned of my daughter’s apraxia diagnosis, you might be hoping for a magic bullet.  I was just sure that the speech language pathologist was going to wave her magic wand, and utter a few phrases like, “bippity-boppity-boo-let-the-talking-begin-with-you,” and my beautiful daughter would be whipping out oratories like nobody’s business. 

Well, that didn’t happen.  No, our speech pathologist was not a soft, rotund fairy godmother.  She was human–just like you and I–but she did have a little magic up her sleeve. 

Now that I have lived through the speech world with my little pumpkin, I know that there is a lot to be said (he, he) for these women and men who work their wonders with our kids. 

One thing my child’s SLP told me was, “You have to work on these things at home.” Sure, I’ll just add, “Get Kate to talk,” to my never-ending to-do list, along with wash the windows, create world peace, and pay the bills.  Maybe I’ll hike Kilaminjaro while I’m at it. 

It seemed the impossible.  Once I started thinking more about how important Kate’s ability to community effortlessly, I got thinking.  Of course, I needed time to digest all of the information on apraxia I was gathering from various sources, then sort out the insurance piece of it, observe a few sessions with the SLP, and then get a grasp on what I–little ol’ me–could do at home to help my little person. 

If you need some ideas on how you can help your child, think about these things:

  • What is your child particularly skilled at doing?  (gross motor, fine motor, art, sensory, etc). 
  • What interests your child?  What are her hobbies?  Passions?  When/where does he “shine?”
  • What do you believe is an incentive for your child?  If talking isn’t the incentive, what is?  Will he “work” for stickers, trinkets, TV time, outside time, a story with you, videogames? 
  • As a parent, what are your skills/interests/motivations? 
  • Can you find a way to meld your interests with your child’s

Just about anything can be used to stimulate conversation.  Well, you may have to take it slow…starting with sounds and working your way up to a conversation. 

Depending on where you’re at on your apraxia journey, you can start with something that truely engages your child while working in the more complex sounds.  For example, we got Kate to say “ball” as she was bouncing a small light-up ball with her Papa.  Papa is the guy to beat in Kate’s eyes.  She is crazy about him, and he her (motivation #1).  We threw (no pun) a ball into the mix and suddenly, there was a huge incentive to say the word (motivation #2).  It took time.  She couldn’t say “ball” for an entire afternoon, no matter how excited she was or how hard we worked to engage her (in fits and starts that day).  Finally, by the next day she was able to say, “ball!” 

What was going on?  That first day, Kate was putting down the motor plans it took to internalize the word.  After a good night’s sleep and some time away from it, she saw her stimulus again and was able to say “ball.”  Yay! 

We’ll continue to offer ideas and tips to work on at home as you work with your child.  Be sure to check out “Apraxia Monday” each week for the “At Home” Series. 

Tomorrow kicks off, “A Little Literacy, Please”

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