By Leslie & Kate Lindsay
And I have apraxia. That means it’s hard for me to get my thoughts out sometimes. Big words are hard for me to say. I need a lot of practice to talk like you do.
This is my mom. Her name is Leslie. I just call her “mom.” She is also an author. She wrote SPEAKING OF APRAXIA because she wanted to be able to help me and other kids with apraxia. And their families. Before she wrote this book, she was a nurse. She really likes helping people. (CAPTION: Me and my sister with a puppy)
When someone asks me what apraxia is, I just tell them that it’s not serious. I know you’ll probably roll your eyes like I do sometimes. I bet you’re worried about apraxia. That’s okay. My mom used to worry, too when I was younger. But you know what? It’s not that big of a deal. At least not to us kids.
I used to go to speech therapy where I worked with my speech therapist, Miss Sylvia. She made talking fun. I love to move my body and she knows that. So, we went to the gym at the speech clinic. I got to go down the slide and each time I did, she would have me say “wheeee!” After I went down the slide a few times, she had me do some speech work, like saying a tough phrase several times. Then I got to go down the slide again.
Sometimes I didn’t want to go to speech [therapy]. I’d get busy at home playing and mom would say, “Come on, Kate. Time to go to speech.” One day I asked her if speech had a drive-thru. She laughed at that and said “No, but wouldn’t that be nice?” The great thing about my mom is she made speech [therapy] fun. I used to be able to pick a treat from a treat box after each time [speech session]. Sometimes, we would go to the park afterwards or she’d give me a piece of candy or something like that. (CAPTION: Me, all dressed up like a granny to celebrate the 100th day of 2nd grade)
I will tell you when having apraxia (CAS) was hard. Once, at a birthday party I didn’t know how to say ‘freeze’ when we played freeze tag. I cried. I wanted to play, but because that was a hard word for me, I couldn’t. The other kids probably wouldn’t have cared that I couldn’t say ‘freeze,’ but to me—it mattered.
When I was a little younger, we went to see Santa at the mall. I couldn’t even tell him what I wanted for Christmas. But my little sister could. My mom had a catalog and she showed the American Girl Doll to Santa. Santa’s eyes got big and happy, “Oh yes! I can do that.” That made me feel better.
Right now, it’s harder for me to read and write [compared to other kids my age who do not have CAS]. I have a special reading teacher at school because I have a hard time focusing on the words. I learned to read a little later than some of my classmates. When I write, I have a hard time getting my thoughts organized to come out in the right order. But I am getting better.
I know you are wondering if your son or daughter will be able to talk. They will. It just takes time. And lots of practice. They may not be as good at talking as you, but don’t worry. They have lots of other really great things about them. Just remember that.
If you your child can’t talk much, find other things to do with them. You can draw, bake, go for a walk or bike ride. You can have tickle fights. You can sit at Starbucks and sip a hot cocoa like me and my mom do sometimes. You can do Irish Step Dance (or any other kind of dance)!
I know you have more questions about apraxia. You should read my mom’s book. It’s a big chapter book all about apraxia. You can get it at Barnes & Noble and also Amazon.com. If you like it, tell others about it.
–Ta-ta for now! Kate : ) (CAPTION: This is my snow wall. Love my gross motor!)
Bio: Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the author of the 2012 Reader’s Choice finalist 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.