By Leslie Lindsay
If you want to know more about a devoted mom, then look no further than Angela Baublitz. An R.N. by education (IMC and Family Birthplace at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminter, MD). and an “apraxia mom” by circumstance, you will find that Angela cares very deeply about the rare –though growing in “popularity”–childhood speech disorder apraxia.
Since we’re both R.N.s, I started with our common backgrounds in the medical and nursing fields. Not surprisingly, Ms. Baublitz’s experiences with CAS was based on her knowledge and experience of older patients who have suffered a stroke, “I did not know children could have apraxia and not necessarily have had a stroke; [in fact], most of my co-workers have not heard of CAS, either.” She mentions that she helps educate doctors, who in her opinion, have “lacked adequate information on CAS.”
Ms. Baublitz’s background only helped once she learned of her daughter’s CAS diagnosis at age 3+ years (that was in April of 2010). However, they knew something was “going on” when she was only 15 monts old–not making sounds or babbling. She was told then that she had an oral motor dysfunction, and encouraged to have regular speech therapy. Emma also attended a special education preschool from the ages of 1 year to 3 years, which helped considerably. Common to children with CAS is other motor concerns, such as feeding issues, gagging, and tongue incordination. It’s all sort of part of the “package,” Emma has also struggled with motor issues with her hands (writing can be a challenge) and sees an OT for that. In addition, she has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Emma has a brother, too. Brady is quite the protector of his little sister, according to mom, “If someone starts to make fun of her for the way she talks he is right there defending her.” Although she does admit that it was hard on Brady when Emma was younger and she would cry or fuss to get her needs met. Brady, though was often the only one in the family who could understand Emma when no one else could. (In fact, Angela has some great tips on how families can work with their other non-CAS kiddos, which I will post on a later Apraxia Monday).
When there’s a problem with our kiddos, us parents like to fix things. Angela Baublitz is no expection. She wrote a book! “I was having problem dealing with Emma and other people always asking me–what is wrong with her why is she not talking right– It happened every where I went. I started writing done my thoughts to help me– it then turned into a Snapfish photo book and I started sending it to people. I sent it to Donna at [Apraxia-Kids.org] and within a day I got an email that they wanted to publish it. I laughed. It was not what I had planned at all.” She recalls that the process all happened very quickly–about 6 months. This is Apraxia-Kids/CASANA’s first publication. You can order your own copy of “I Want to be Your Friend,” by visiting www.apraxia-kids.org.
Ms. Baublitz’s campaign doesn’t end there. “I hope to educate and be an advocate for other families. I want to educate the public about CAS.” You can, too. She urges all parents and caregivers of children with apraxia to “Learn all you can on www.apraxia-kids.org, talk with other parents with children who have apraxia. Start a local apraxia walk to raise money for CAS. I am hosting the Baltimore walk in September. Teach everyone you meet that ask question and do not get upset about them asking and showing your child is different. Your child is special and beautiful in their own way.”