By Leslie Lindsay
I have two kids. Both of them have red hair. Both of them have blue eyes. Both of them of girls. But that is where the similarites come to an end. You see, one of them is very, very precocious (read: talkative) and the other, well…not so much. You know my comparison has nothing to do with love. It has to do with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).
My oldest daughter has CAS. Her younger sister does not. When we first learned of the apraxia diagnosis, I was very focused on helping my older daughter get the help she needed. I shuffled her to and from therapy, I got her into a great language-based preschool program. I worried about and read about apraxia. I cried. I laughed. I saw glimmers of hope.
Now, at six years old, my daughter with CAS is doing a world better. But, being the oldest, she’s a little sensitive about her speech skills not being quite “up to par” as her chatty little sister. What’s a parent to do?!
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Angela Baublitz, mother of a daughter with CAS and author of “I Want to be Your Friend,” (a book intended for children about CAS available through Apraxia-KIDS, www.apraxia-kids.org). She mentioned several tips for siblings in regards to CAS. Keep in mind, though that Angela’s son is older and it’s her daughter who has CAS. It may be easier for older non-CAS sibs to take on the roles Angela mentions:
“[My son] protects his sister a lot. Should someone start to make fun of my daughter for the way she talks, he is right there defending her.” She also gives these tips to parents:
- Keep open communication with the Non-CAS child so they can understand what the CAS child is going through.
- Also make sure the Non-CAS child has free time by themselves to play with other children and alone time with parents.
- Make sure the Non-CAS child is sharing how he feels with you.
- Try to go on with life with a positive attitude, treat both children the same
- Socialize with other families–do not isolate your family from this speech problem
- Have fun in life
I’d love to hear from you all–how have you balanced the CAS diagnosis with the other demands and children of your family?! Email me today, firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment in today’s blog.