Write on, Wednesday! To Plot, or Not to Plot…that is the Question

By Leslie Lindsay Write on, Wednesday:  Imagine a Better Writer

As most of you know, I am feverishly working on a novel.  Second draft revisions…rewrites, or whatever you want to call ’em are tough.  The first draft was all composed on the fly.  That is, I am a pantser (as in seat-of-my-pants).  I first heard that term when I attended the Write-by-the-Lake retreat this past June.  I heard it again when I was reading the latest issue of Writer’s Digest (March/April 2013).

So, let’s back up to that statement at the top:  Second-draft revisions are tough.  As I’ve been working through this draft with my wonderful writing partner (who reads, critiques, gives, suggestions, and kicks my butt), I’ve been seriously considering starting the next book with a good old-fashioned outline, thinking it would make those 2nd draft revisions much easier. 

After reading this article in WD, I am wrong, wrong, wrong! 

Take what you want–work how you want–but for me, the outline may not be my bestfriend.  It’s too limiting.  It’s too old-school, it’s too predictable…and it sort of takes the fun out of writing.  Here’s why:

  • Starting with an idea, a problem, or paradox seems to lead most naturally to storytelling
  • Storytelling, by definition is a rambling artistic form.  Okay, try to forget that I said, “rambling.”  Your book should NOT ramble.  Your thought-processes should.  Explore them.  When you have a cool idea, go deeper.  Eliminate the other not-so-good rambles.
  • That said, follow your rabbit holes.  You never know what your inner muse may contribute.  If it sucks later, cut it.
  • Themes and subtext start to emerge from plot-free writing.  I had no idea a theme in my book was “cleanliness, tidyness” till someone in my critique group commented on it.  I learned something about my inner psyhe and my characters. 
  • Each scene–and character for that matter–should behave predictably, but still have a surprise ending.  You can’t always work that out with a plot.  Sometimes those ‘surprises’ startle you, the writer, too.
  • Be able to straddle a couple of genres.  I know, I know…you have heard contraindications for that.  Well, I think a ‘good book’ touches on several genres.  For example, I am currently reading a Laura Lippman novel.  She’s a thriller writer.  Is is all gloom and doom?  Action?  No.  But it does cross into women’s fiction, psychological thriller, whodunit, and more…when you start with a plot or outline, you often do so with the idea (read: rule) that you are writing a romance or Christian fiction, or whatever, so those other genre elements get poo-pooed. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Do your own thing.  But remember, writing is hard work.  It sounds easy, but in the words of Nathanial Hawthorne, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” 

Apraxia Monday: Gnoming for Words

By Leslie Lindsay

Looking for some crafty things to do with your children during the winter months?  This one lends well to the spring season as you can make these Hobbit-inspired homes now, and then spray with that really great preservation stuff and place in a protected area of your yard/porch to attract little fairies and gnomes.  Perfect for that Irish-themed holiday right around the corner!  Photo_9374C75B-86B3-295A-836E-527655881F16 WP_001709 WP_001710

Now, don’t get wrong, this is not a how-to post on creating your own gnome homes, rather it’s a lesson on how to incorporate speech-language skills into your projects. 

          Rule #1:  You don’t have to be an artist.  Repeat that.  You don’t have to be an artist.      

          Rule #2:  It’s about the process, and not the finished art piece

          Rule #3:  Grab your child(ren). 

          Rule #4:  It’s okay to get messy, encouraged even.  (Wear old clothes or a smock)

          Rule #5:  Have fun!

Now for that part about how to incorporate speech work into your crafting.  For children of all ages and all skill levels, you can begin by just talking about what you are doing.  “Today, we are going to build gnome homes.  Do you know what a gnome is?”  Or how about, “Can you say gnome?” 

Got a tactile-learner? A kid who loves to dance? Or maybe your child really loves color? While every child has a constellation of sensory strengths (shape, color, movement and sound are just a few), your child probably has one or two that really stand out — that you notice in his or her artwork or in elements of his or her collections and activities.  Here’s how you may be able to those sensory strengths to gnome homes, or any other type of craft you attempt. 

  • Shape:  Ask your child for descriptive words related to their gnome home.  Is it tall?  Big? Flat?  Round? 
  • Sound:  “What do you suppose your gnome may hear at their home?”  Water trickling/rushing/splashing?  (Let’s practice making that sound), “How do you think a gnome talks?  Let’s try it.  Can you make your voice high-pitched or low-pitched?”  What are some other sounds in nature that may be heard at a gnome home? 
  • Color:  “What colors are you using?  Oh, green!  Look, I see gray and brown, too.”  Can you say ‘gray?’
  • Texture:  “Is that bumpy or smooth?  Can you say those words?”  “I am going to add a little texture to this door.”  Can you say the word texture? “I have some moss.  What does moss feel like?  Here, touch it.” 
  • Light:  If you could imagine what kind of light is shining on this gnome home, what colors would you pick?  Is it sunny or rainy?  Should we add sparkles to our house? 
  • Movement:  You may not be able to add much movement to your creation, unless you get mechanical and add a water wheel or something of that sort…but you can still incorporate movement in your crafting by having your child get up and retrieve a supply.  This works on receptive language, “Will you grab the glue/moss/rocks?” 
  • Extend the activity:  Now it’s time to do something different, but similar to your craft project.  Can you read a book to your child about gnomes?  Draw a picture?  Watch a movie that incorporates gnomes?  Here are a few to get your started. 

Here are couple of suggestions: 

  • Fairy Houses by Tracy KaneProduct Details (image source: Amazon.com 2.25.13)





  • Pinkalicious Fairy House by Victoria Kann Product Details(image source: Amazon.com 2.25.13)

For more how-to approaches look to: Product Details

Fairy Houses . . . Everywhere! (The Fairy Houses Series) by Tracy Kane and Barry Kane  (image source: Amazon.com 2.25.13)


Product DetailsThe Fairy House Handbook by Liza Gardner Walsh & Amy Whilton (image source: Amazon.com 2.25.13)



References: The Missing Alphabet, A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids (Greenleaf Book Group, 2012). http:/www.themissingalphabet.com. Book available on Amazon.com and where books are sold.

Bio: Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the author of the 2012 Reader’s Choice nominated SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012). She is a former child/adolescent psychiatric nurse at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester. Leslie is now a full-time writer at work on her first novel, an active blogger, www.leslie4kids.wordpress.com, and frequent contributor to several speech-related websites. She devotes her free time to her two school-age daughters, Kate and Kelly and a spoiled basset hound, Sally. Leslie is married to Jim Lindsay and resides in the Chicago area.

[Disclaimer:  This is a fun, speech-related activity you can do with your children.  Look for low-cost alternatives & supplies you may have on hand at home.  Glitter, glue, old beads, and buttons, rocks, sticks, and discarded jewelry.  The author of this post has no affilitation with the authors or their collected works on this page.  There is no monetary gain for this post.]

Fiction Friday:

By Leslie Lindsay

Another installment from my womens’ fiction novel…remember, this is original work and not intended to represent anyone living or dead.  Please do not borrow, beg, or steal.  I’d love to hear your comments on this.  Preparing to pitch to an agent in mid-April.  Enjoy!  Fiction Friday:  Work-in-Progress from "Slippery Slope"

“I sniffed out a smile and shrugged, secretly pleased with their assessment of my Annie.  When I wandered down to the bedroom, rubbery cheese pizza in hand, I leaned on the door jamb and watched.  Annie and Colin were perched on the green shag carpeting, her arm around him, a book open in her lap.  “And then the third little pig…”  Her voice lilting with excitement.  I knew then that I would marry Annie Kelley and make babies with her. 

And now, that dream has been shattered.  All because of one little mistake, more like a series of mistakes.  I hang out with Beth in college.  I kiss Beth.  I ignore Annie.  She needs more. 

And now she is getting more.  More kids. 

Less of me. 

I lean back, the leather chair creaking with my weight, and reach for my beer.  I really need something stronger.  I take a swig, stroke my jaw, and close my eyes.  Vodka.  In the wet bar. 

I heft myself up and head downstairs to the wet bar.  I open a cabinet and rummage around.  There, in the back is a bottle of Smirnoff.  I reach for a highball glass, the kind etched with our monogram—a wedding gift—and pour some.  It goes down with a strong burn.  I grimace.  A crystal-clear numbing agent. 

Tough luck.   You made your bed, Steve.  My hands tremble slightly as I reach for the glass again.  And again.

My head is clogged-a spider web of snot, an impenetrable membrane of fascia.  I reach for a can of nuts and rip off the foil liner.  I pop almonds, cashews into my mouth, spilling them down the front of my shirt.

I’m not sober. It’s over. 

I reach for my cell sitting on the counter.  I could call her.  Tell her how much I love her.  Again.  I am not opposed to raising another man’s child. 

Beth.  How would that work?  I swallow another gulp of Vodka.  I could just divorce her like everyone else does in this day and age.  A divorce is as easy as filing your taxes.  Hell, some attorneys even offer free divorces on Valentine’s Day. 

Does that make them cupid, or the devil?

But then I would have to wait almost a year.  I suck my teeth of nut residue and pick up my cell again.  I tap Beth’s mom’s number into the phone.  The ringing is deafening.  I hold the phone away from my ear. 


I say nothing. 

“Steve, is that you?”  Mrs. Donovan is pointed.  I picture her looking to Beth, slumped at the kitchen table of her childhood home, an uneaten grilled cheese and bowl of tomato soup sitting in front of her.

“Yeah, it’s me.”

I bet Beth twists her hair into a bun, shoving a pencil in to secure it and then waving her hands as if to tell her mom that she doesn’t want to talk.

I imagine Mrs. Donovan looks to her daughter, my wife.  My head rock-heavy and swimming in Vodka. 

“Steve, she doesn’t want to talk.”

“But why the hell not?  She’s my wife.  My wife!”

“I know.  She’s hurt.  Leave her be.”

“I don’t want to be alone,” my words slur.  My tongue thick.

“Steve, are you drinking?” 

“What does it matter?”

“I think you need to stop drinking and sober up.  She’s not going to talk to you when you’re drunk.” 

“But she’s my wife….”

“I am hanging up now, Steve.  Please don’t call back.” 

I fling the phone across the room.  A framed photo falls to the floor, the glass smattering into tiny shards. “

In My Brain Today: Reader’s Choice Finalist

By Leslie Lindsay

It is with great pleasure, awe, and humility that I share fantastic news.  SPEAKING OF APRAXIA:  A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012) has advanced to the finalist stage of the Reader’s Choice Awards by About.com/Terri Mauro, mother and author.  Terri Mauro

(image source: http://specialchildren.about.com/od/readerschoice/tp/Readers-Choice-Favorite-New-Special-needs-Parenting-Book.htm.  Retrieved 2.21.13) 

When I decided to write this book, I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) even was.  I was the one who wanted/needed the book, I certainly didn’t think I could write one!  Published by Woodbine House, a leader in special needs parenting books, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA is currently the only book on the shelves written exclusively on apraxia for parents.  Having the book reach the finalist stage of a nationally-known award is more than a dream come true. 

But I could use  your help.  Just as the award’s name suggests, obtaining the honor of the award is based solely on readers.  So, if you–your child(ren)–or your organization–have been touched by the book, childhood apraxia of speech, any speech disorder, Down’s syndrome, or any other bioneurological disorder, then please take a moment to vote.  It’s really very simple.  Just click on the link below and a mark your ballot for SPEAKING OF APRAXIA.  Readers' Choice Awards Logo

VOTE HERE!! http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2013/02/19/vote-for-favorite-new-special-needs-parenting-book-2.htm

You may be asked to sign-in via Facebook, personal email, or About.com.  You can vote once per day till March 19th.  The book with the most votes WINS.

And since you are curious, I will be honest:  the “prize” is *just* bragging rights.  That’s it.  No money, no personal gain on my part…just a great book that readers like and gain valuable information from. 

Your support and commitment would be much, much appreciated. 

***And that is what is in my brain today, Thurday February 21st 2013***

For more information, and to see the other finalists, look here:  http://specialchildren.about.com/od/readerschoice/tp/Readers-Choice-Favorite-New-Special-needs-Parenting-Book.htm

The Teacher is Talking: Let’s Talk About Talent

By Leslie Lindsay

When I used to work as a R.N. at the Child-Adolescent Treatment Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota I often facilitated educational groups.  Aside from the fact that I really enjoyed these groups, we often would pose questions to the kids (patients) that could be a little tough to answer.  Here are some examples that come to mind:

1)  If you could have another name other than your own, what would you choose and why? 

2)  Name one thing you are good at.

Okay…the one I am focusing on today is this last one.  One. Thing. You.  Are.  Good.  At.  This particular question gets to the heart of the matter quickly: Self-esteem.  I find this question i smuch  easier for younger kids to answer than older ones. 

For example, this past week I volunteered to be a Room Mother at my 6yo’s kindergarten Valentine’s party.  I read a book to the kiddos about happiness and loving oneself.  Then I went around the room and ask for students to share what they are good at.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  Arms shot up left and right.  “I am good at being a friend.” … “I am good at reading.”  …. “I am good at helping my mom.”  …. “I am good at taking care of my dog.”   Product Details(image source: Amazon.com.  One of the titles I read at the Valentine’s Day Party). 

When I was at Mayo working with a room full of adolescents, I would often get blank stares and mumbles, “I’m not good at anything.”  Or, screwed up faces, you know the kind when someone bites their lip and looks down, trying to wipe off a smile because they know they are good at XYZ but are afraid to admit it. 

Somewhere along the line, kids decide it is not ‘cool’ to admit to something they do well.  I want them to get that back. 

If you have a younger child, then consider  yourself lucky.  You still have time to remind them of their talents and build their sense of self-esteem.  If your kiddos are a little older, keep doing it.  “I like the way you  ____.”  “You know, you really are good at _____.”  “You worked really hard and ____.” 

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be diving into one of my favorite subjects:  self-esteem and children–and later, specifically focusing on girl’s self-esteem.  For now, I leave you with this “book” written and illustrated by my daughter, 6yo .  Note the “about the author photo.” Kelly. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In case you have a hard time reading her inventive spelling, I will translate:

  • “Dad’s talent is gardening.” 
  • “Kate’s [big sister] talent is art.”
  • “Mom’s talent is writing.”
  • “Kelly’s talent is soccer.”
  • “Talents are fun for everybody.”
  • “Everybody has fun talents.”
  • “Have fun with your talents.”

Apraxia Monday: School-Based SLP Natalie Boatwright

By Leslie Lindsay

***Photo Dec 16, 6 54 41 PMSLP INTERVIEW!!!***

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to chat with us, Natalie.  We are excited to learn speech tips and tricks for the early childhood set from someone who is so well-versed (sorry, couldn’t resist), in the field.  Let’s start by getting to know you a bit.

L4K: When and how did you get interested in the field of pediatric speech pathology?  Is it something that has always been in interest of yours, or did it evolve along with your academic career? 

Natlie, CCC-SLP: It all started when I was a freshman in college. I was at orientation, and we were making our schedules for the first semester. I happened upon a course called “Intro to Communication Disorders.” I guess you could say it evolved with my academic career…I was hooked after the first class.

L4K: As a school-based SLP, what are some of the top speech concerns you see at the grade-school level?   

Natalie, CCC-SLP: The main concern I have encountered this year is with carry-over of learned skills into the classroom. I have a plan in place to help with this. I hope it continues to work…so far so good.

L4K: When I was an elementary student, I recall kids getting pulled out for speech services.  We called it “speech teacher,” at the time.  How do you see school-based SLPs evolving in the future? 

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Currently, I provide both pull-out and in-class services. The type of service is determined on an individual basis per the student’s needs. At this time, more of my direct therapy follows the pull-out model. However, in the near future I can see SLPs evolving into more in-class therapy services, perhaps in more of a co-teach model with the general education teacher during a reading or language arts lesson.

 L4K: While looking at your blog, Just Wright Speech, I see you have a ton of really cute and crafty projects to get kids talking.  How did you develop these ideas? [Be sure to check out and “like” her FB page, https://www.facebook.com/JustWrightSpeech and also the blog at http://justwrightspeech.blogspot.com/

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Thank you! Currently I’m still building my materials library, but the majority of the ideas are very simplistic and usually thought of while I am working on another project. Some of my activities have been inspired by other SLPs…there are some GREAT ideas out there. I usually tweak the activity just a bit to allow for more flexibility with among my very diverse caseload.  (I also keep a notebook of ideas. When one comes to mind, I jot it down…one day, there will be time to give them all a try!)

L4K: Most importantly, how do kids respond to your clever games and crafts?  What are some of their favorites?   

Natalie, CCC-SLP: My students are really motivated by activities that allow them to work together, and get away from the table. Such is the case with the recent life-size snowmen/women we made. This activity allowed them to work together and build something while at the same time targeting goals of requesting, sequencing, labeling, and more. The best part was being away from the kidney shaped table in the room and being able to work freely in a different place.  (image source: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/?p=283.  retrieved 2.18.13)

L4K: What’s the social climate like in schools these days?  Do kids feel ‘picked on’ or ‘isolated’ due to their speech concerns?  How might a teacher/parent/or another school-based SLP address those concerns? 

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Within my current elementary school, to my knowledge, students do not feel as though they are “different” because they receive speech therapy. Many of the students within the school are seen for various things throughout the day. It is not unusual to the student or his/her peers to receive ‘help’ be it inside or outside of the classroom.

L4K: What are some of your favorite family-friendly resources for coping with bullies, disabilities, or a speech disorder?    

Natalie, CCC-SLP: When meeting with parents I like them to have something to walk away with in their hands. As a result, I have compiled a binder of articles, many of which I have found online at www.asha.org. ASHA stands for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. I have by binder in order by grade level (kindergarten through fifth grade) with the original articles in sheet protectors and parent copies following, in both English and Spanish (my elementary campus is a bilingual campus). Some of the articles in my binder are: 

Wow–a BIG Thanks to Natalie for taking the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and expertise with us! 

Fiction Friday:

By Leslie Lindsay

Another excerpt from my novel-in-progress.  Plowing ahead!  Remember, this is original work–women’s ficiton.  Enjoy!  Write on, Wednesday:  Imagine a Better Writer

Thinking about Annie—about her life now—who she is, who’s she’s become.  A wife, a mother. 

Pregnant? Could that be just another illusion?  I mean, I knew she had kids—two of them to be exact—and Beth, well all she ever wanted was what Annie had.  It was like a bad joke; a twist of fate I wasn’t expecting.  Annie had everything she ever wanted—children, a home, an education.  Joe.  I wince.  An impediment to my goal. 


And all Beth wants is a baby.  With me.  I rake my hands through my hair.  Pregnant.   How can that be? 

I always assumed Annie and I would have children someday.  It was one of the reasons I fell so hard for her.  I pictured us having kids together—nurturing, maternal Annie.  If anyone was cut out for the job, it was her.  What more could I want—a wife who was a nurse.  Maybe a school nurse, who would place Band-aids on skinned knees and ice packs on sore heads; the summers off to be with our own kids.  It seemed like the ideal situation.

The first time I imagined our future family was a year or so after we had been dating.  Dad’s sister lived just outside of Athens.  Late winter—the dreary season in Georgia.  “Come with me to Aunt Christy’s,” he said.  “We can order pizza and catch up.” 

I had shrugged and told him I was busy with a chem lab, “Not today, dad.”  I shifted the receiver to the other ear and looked over to Annie sitting on my bed in the dorm, chewing on the tip of her pen. I probably rolled my eyes, humoring dad.  What I really wanted was to get back to our study date.  Annie needed help with pharmacology.  I understood it, the mechanism of action, uptake and reuptake loops, the way the chemical properties transformed into useful substances in the body.  But then something struck me.  I don’t know—the tilt of her head, a brief smile, her soft features. 

“Hey, wanna go to see my Aunt Christy?”  There was a part of me who wanted to show off my girl.  She lifted her shoulders and looked at the pharmacology text splayed open on the navy bedspread.  “Free pizza—“ I enticed her with a broad smile.


In My Brain Today: Who Invented Valentine’s Day, Anyway?!

By Leslie Lindsay

This was a question that my 2nd grader posed to me in the school drop-off line this morning.  And it got me thinking…I knew there was a St. Valentine who did…what…good deeds? But of that I wasn’t even sure.   How then, did the day become such a romantic commercialized holiday?  I told her I would do a little research on the subject while she was at school and report back.  (see, this learning thing…it lasts forever).

According to an article by NPR today, the origins of the cute, cozy, lovey holiday can be attributed to the ancient Romans.  Why not?  They seem to have started everything else.  Seems in those very early days of  Roman culture, men would ‘hit on women’ by doing just that–hitting them.  It was a brutal way of saying ‘I love you,’ but well…the theory was beating woman made them more fertile, and after all, populating the empire was of utmost importance. 

In another theory of Roman love, men would pull a woman’s name at random from a jar in a sort of matchmaking lottery.  The couple would then be…uh, hooked up…and if the connection was a good one, well they stayed that way even longer.

How’s that for a Latin lover?

The ancient Romans were also responible for the modern-day moniker of St. Valentine’s Day.  The then-Pope  (let’s not get into that) had a couple of guys executed on February 14th in the 3rd century A.D. both by the name of Valentine.  This supposed marytardom was honored by the Catholic Church.  A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.

(A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images (Image source: NPR.org)

Later, Shakespeare and Chaucer made the holiday a little more lovey-dovey with their plays and poems and short-stories.  Paper Valentine cards were made and handed out to one’s beloved on the day, thus deeming the day of love in Medieval times. 

Later, in 1913 Hallmark rolled out the first commercialized cards.  Other merchandise soon followed suit…all for own’s suitors. 

As for me, I don’t quite get it.  The daily trivia question at my favorite coffee shop was, “How many married couples will celebrate Valentine’s Day?”  a) 25% b) 50% or c) 65%? 

I answered, 25%.  I was chastised, “Gee Leslie, you gotta have more faith in the institution than that.” 

Oh, really? 

Yes, seems the answer is 65% of all married couples will celebrate Valentines Day.  I think I am lucky if I get a card. 

Nope, I am not bitter.  It’s just that over the years, I have become to realize that love it not about a day.  It’s about the way we conduct our lives everyday, all year.  And so I am off to see the cheesy Nicholas Sparks movie this morning…because a little eye candy will do my Roman Gaelic heart some good.  And then later, I will volunteer my time at the Kindergarten Valentines’ Day Party, because it’s really about sharing our heart for others. 

Happy Valentines’ Day. 



The Teacher is Talking: The Energy Bus Book Review

By Leslie Lindsay

I just can’t get enough of my books this week!  I think you will agree that today’s “The Teacher is Talking” meshes well with yesterday’s post about speech disorders and bullies.  Product Details

The Energy Bus by Jon  Gordon came to us by way of a birthday gift for my 6-year old.  She’s a full-day kindergarten student who hops on the big yellow every day, so a book about school buses made perfect sense.  But this is not just any school bus–it’s Miss Joy’s Energy Bus!  (image source: Amazon.co 2/12/13)

I love how this book teaches the young character that he is in charge of his own positivity–his own good thinking, and his own outcome.  It’s about coming to school ready for the day and being your best self.  When some of the older kids at school bother him, he just uses his special energy bus powers to put ’em in their place.  Of course, there are a few bumps along the road, but what one learns from the energy bus is something we can all take with us on our journey.

From the website:

“The Energy Bus for Kids shows children how to overcome negativity, bullies and everyday challenges to be their best and share their positive energy with others.

When you get kids on The Energy Bus, you’ll infuse their lives with vision, hope, love and positivity.”

For more information, see:

[No compensation for this post has been provided.  The author owns this book and is not affiliated in any way with the author.  This is not a give-a-way]

Apraxia Monday: He Talks Funny Author Jeanne Buesser & Give-a-Way

By Leslie Lindsay


For mother Jeanne Buesser, apraxia has been near and dear to her heart.  Her son–now a senior in high school–and doing well–suffers from the neurologically-based motor speech disorder.  Jeanne is also the president of the nonprofit grassroots organization, Apraxia Network of Bergen County (New Jersey) and the author of He Talks Funny (Author House, 2010).  For more information, see Jeanne’s YouTube Channel: PSA’s, interviews, and more.   (image source: www.authorsden.com 2.11.13)

“All the children eventually reach the top of their mountain but each has a different way of getting there.”


Designed for parents, caregivers, teachers, and children with apraxia, Ms. Buesser indicates He Talks Funny was “an idea that just popped into my head one day.” She’s not a stranger to writing, though.  Her work had appeared in the Exceptional Parent Magazine, Parentguide Magazine, and also www.Parentpaper.com.  She also blogs regularly at http://jeannebuesser.com

He Talks Funny is a story about a young boy named Joey and his struggles with CAS, specifically about other children not being able to understand him, and as a result– not having very many friends.  When asked about this, Buesser indicates that she has never called apraxia, Childhood Apraxia of Speech ( emphasizing the childhood term)  simply because “as he got older, and into middle school the title was not appropriate…he’s now a senior [in HS] and understood about 98% of the time, but he does need to remember to articulate and put his thoughts together first.”  Product Details

So, this all boils down to bullying, in some regards.  Kids can be mean.  They can make nasty comments about how one speaks–or doesn’t.  In He Talks Funny,  you’ll a section called “circle of friends.”  Buesser recommends explaining to the principal or teacher the situation frst so there is not a stigma before the child is put into the classroom.  Also, she recomends “explaining CAS to parents of the other children so that everyone is on the same page.”  (image source: Amazon.com 2.11.13) 

Buesser’s message is clear:  As a parent, you have to be the one to step forward and educate others–but slowly.  “People are scared of things–scared often of the unknown.  They often don’t know how to approach people when it comes to things they aren’t familiar with, like apraxia.”  Buesser is also at work on developing a program with He Talks Funny in which the book would be incorporated into New Jersey Core Curriculum regarding bullying and also getting the book on the school’s recommended lists. 


And now for the give-a-way!  Jeanne has graciously provided a copy of He Talks Funny to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is share this page on your Facebook or Twitter account.  But you must let me know you did so (otherwise, I have no idea who to enter into the drawing).  Just shoot me an email leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com and say, “I shared the post.”  That will enter you to win a copy of this book, (valued at $12.49 on Amazon).   Drawing for one (1) winner will be held WEDNESDAY, FEB 13th.  Good Luck!!   WINNER IS….Rachel Williams!!  (Name drawn at random on 2.13.13).  This concludes the contest.  Thanks for all of those who entered.