Apraxia Monday, kids, parenting
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Apraxia Monday: “Talk the Talk”

We parents like to talk.  A lot.  Even if our kids with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) can’t–at least not well–or yet.  That’s why I felt it so important to attend the Windy City Apraxia Network/CASANA-sponsored event at the DuPage Children’s Museum held last week, June 16th, “Talk the Talk.”

Seated with us parents at the large table were Judy Jelm, SLP and Kris Yung, OT.  Both ladies have a vested interest in helping children with motor planning obstacles.  Ms. Jelm is especially skilled at working with kiddos with CAS, and has even developed the Verbal Dyspraxia Profile: A Clinical Picture Checklist.  She practices in Naperville.

I am sure you are curious to hear what I learned:

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a neurological motor speech disorder in which kiddos have difficulty rapidly, accurately, and consistently producing and timing the movements sequences needed to produce speech; it is NOT due to having low muscular tone of the jaw.  It is NOT due to shyness or introversion.


  • Usually a child with CAS has difficulty moving the mouth, teeth, tongue, lips, (articulators) to the correct positions each and every time they want to produce speech. 


  • They may also have difficulty moving smoothly between sounds and syllables.

  • Kids with CAS may have trouble producing vowels in the same manner each time.  In this case, an “O” is not just an “O,” it may come out as an “A” or “U” in the same word on different occassions (“top,” tap,” or “tup”).


  • What parents ought to know is: these kids are trying, it’s just hard to plan, organize, and execute speech.

  •   Motor planning and organizing is a concern that Occupational Therapists (OTs) can assist with–but so, too can your speech therapist–remember that there is more to the “five senses” than just seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, and smelling.


  • Two additional senses are: proprioception (feeling of your body in position and space) and vestibular (sense of body balance, rotation, and gravity).


  • When these senses (or any sense) is…well, not making sense, then a child may have a sensory processing disorder (SPD): the difficulty of the nervous system in using and integrating sensory information; no only underlying concerns have been detected, nor is there any psychological or neurological diagnosis.


  • Not all children with CAS have SPD, but they could, as there is often a blending of the two diagnoses.  If you are concerned that your child could have a sensory processing disorder, then please contact your pediatrician who can give you a referral to a pediatric OT. 


  • Aside from all of this tech-y stuff, I did learn that not all kids present the same; not every type of therapy, gadget, or gizmo will help you or your child.   Not every book or resource you read will be “the answer,” but they all get you closer to knowing how best to help your child.
  • One must become a dectective in sleuthing out  something that just may be the “magic bullet” for your child.
  • And, don’t forget to “talk the talk,” as we often learn much from other parents walking along the same journey.

To learn more about Judy Jelm, SLP look to http://www.usahealthcareguide.com/jelm-judy-michels-1659534972.html

Ms. Jelm’s 49-page Parent’s Handbook to Verbal Dyspraxia can be found through Janelle Publications http://www.janellepublications.com/0951.shtml

Kris Yung, OT can be found at Pediatrics Place in LaGrange, IL http://www.physiocorp.com/facility/60509/LAGRANGE/IL/Lagrange-Pediatric-Place


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