By Leslie Lindsay
Leslie Lindsay, author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2020) interviews her 15-year old daughter, Kate, about growing up with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).
~APRAXIA MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~
A Mother-Daughter Conversation about CAS
Part 2 of 2
Now available in an updated, second edition, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, December 2020), is an award-winning resource on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Eight years ago, when Leslie Lindsay, former Child & Adolescent Psychiatric R.N., and mother to a daughter with CAS—now resolved—couldn’t find any parent-friendly books to help her child and family with CAS, she wrote one. This updated, well-researched, and comprehensive work provides readers the benefit of her experience and perspective.
- introduction to speech, language & listening
- explanation of CAS
- what to do when you suspect your child has CAS
- getting a speech evaluation
- meeting with a speech-language pathologist
- getting the CAS diagnosis
- possible causes
- diagnoses related to CAS
- speech therapy best suited for CAS
- complementary & alternative approaches
- activities & materials to support therapy at home
- creating a language-rich environment for speech
- coping with CAS as a family
- understanding & tending to your child’s feelings
- networking, advocating & resources
- when CAS resolves, what’s next?
Supportive and encouraging, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA gives readers the detailed information they need to get working on all aspects of their child’s CAS diagnosis. Additional helpful content includes resources, a glossary, and appendices about possible co-occurring conditions, health insurance, camp and enrichment programs, and speech and language milestones.
If you missed the first half of this conversation, which previously ‘aired’ on 12/7/20, click here.
Please join us in conversation.
Kate, so many thanks for chatting with me about this. Since the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA goes into a little more detail on older kids with apraxia, I wondered if you could tell us how you’re doing now? You’re fifteen, a sophomore in high school. What kinds of things are you into…
Creating…keeping busy. I love tennis, exercising and movement. I’m an Irish dancer and during the pandemic, we haven’t had classes, but that didn’t stop me. I dance in the basement and make up my own dances. I don’t always know what I am doing, but that’s okay; I’m still moving.
Those dances are pretty tough. There’s a lot of gross-and-fine motor coordination going on…kind of like speech in that sense. How do you remember the sequences to the dances, the moves to make? Is it hard?
Not really. I use a lot of…what do they call that…where you make up little sayings to go with something hard to learn?
Yeah, that. I know what I want my feet to do…in Irish dance, they might call it something fancy but in my head, I call it foot-wiggle-thing-y. It works…maybe because I am in motion?
I think that’s a really good point. When you were in speech therapy, we often added in occupational therapy (OT), there was a lot of movement, crawling through tunnels, climbing ropes and nets, tumbling, bouncing balls…you adored this. While you were doing this, your speech-language therapist (SLP) often worked with you on target words and phrases. The words were easier then. They explained this to me as working your vestibular system…which controls balance and motion and might very well be connected to the language centers of the brain. That’s why children on a playground are anything but quiet; the movement stimulates verbalizations.
“The tone is friendly, the voice confident and authoritative, and perhaps the best part, readers really get the chance to know Leslie Lindsay as both a mom and medical expert.”
That’s pretty interesting and makes a lot of sense. Because I like moving.
Do you think–now that you’re 15–apraxia holds you back?
Not anymore. But when I was younger, it did. I had a hard time making friends because I was quiet. But then it got better. Friends understood. The ones who didn’t…I didn’t want to be their friend anyway. When I was in 4th and 5th grade, I was out of speech therapy, but I still had an IEP. It was embarrassing. I hated when that special teacher came to get me. She was nice and I liked her, but I worried what everyone else was thinking about me, like maybe I was dumb.
That must have been hard.
It was. And my 4th grade teacher, she kept talking and talking, I don’t think she ever noticed the time. I would be like, “[Mrs. T] is waiting for me and it would draw more attention to my…problem.
So what advice would you give teachers? And maybe parents about that?
Be aware and discreet. Know that these kids are a little embarrassed and don’t want to be ‘different.’ If a child in your classroom has to leave for some reason, let it be a natural part of the classroom…like, if the other kids are going to reading circle, or whatever, the child who needs to go to the special teacher slips out then. Don’t call attention to it.
I think that’s good advice. What about as you got older? Into junior high and now in high school?
Well, honors biology sucked. I mean, I used to love science, but not this. It was very abstract. Nothing was hands-on and you’d think it would be, being biology. But it was all packets and big words. I couldn’t think about what the teacher was trying to teach because the words were huge and I couldn’t say them in my head, or out-loud, and it was miserable. I think kids–teenagers–with CAS need more hands-on class work. Also, math. Not a fan. Oh! And Spanish. That was really hard. I mean, I can barely speak English half the time, trying to read, speak, listen to another language–and they move really fast–was just not for me.
I get it. I know I spoke with both of those teachers at high school and told them about your history with apraxia. They were sympathetic, but they still had a curriculum to teach and you had to get through it because both of those classes were a graduation requirement. How did you do it?
Well, I asked for extra help. I went to a tutor. I sat up front. I practiced the words. I did not get As in those classes; they were still really hard for me and I am glad to be done with them.
Do you remember going to speech as a kiddo?
Yep! It wasn’t really a big deal. As I got older and they [SLPs, OTs] learned my personality more, they incorporated things I liked. I remember looking at a Titanic book they got from the library and practicing words from that book. We even danced. I taught the lady [SLP] some Irish dance steps! I’m pretty sure they were the ones who taught me to whistle. Maybe it was some exercise for another speech-related thing, but now I can whistle because of that.
What advice would you give kids–and their parents/caregivers–about going to speech therapy?
I mean, just go. It might be annoying, but you will be glad you did in the long run. Also, check out the place first. If it doesn’t have a jungle gym, don’t go. I mean, that’s really important–make sure it’s fun and you feel comfortable there.
That’s a good idea to check it out first. What else might you suggest?
Well, don’t give up. Think of [going to speech therapy] like a game. You can collect points! Say, every time you go, you get 100 points. Have your mom or dad keep track. When you get, a thousand–boom–a treat of some kind. Hey…that’s a good idea [light-bulb goes off].
One last bit of advice for the road?
We all face problems. Some of us a little younger than others. When you do, you understand other people’s problems better. Like, when you see someone with another kind of disability, you’re more understanding.
[Oh, my heart!]
Artistic image designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook #SpeakingofApraxia. Other images retrieved from various sites, and credited at bottom of page.
For more information, to connect with Leslie Lindsay, via social media, or to purchase a copy of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, please visit:
Missed the first half of this interview? Click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leslie A. Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, originally published in 2012. Leslie’s writing and photography have appeared in various literary journals; she has been recognized as one of the most influential book reviewers, interviewing hundreds of bestselling and debut authors at her website. Leslie is a former Child & Adolescent Psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic and at work on a memoir. She resides in suburban Chicago. Visit her on Insta/Twitter @leslielindsay1 and the Speaking of Apraxia Facebook Page.
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~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from Woodbine House~
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
Kate Lindsay is Leslie’s oldest daughter. She is currently a sophomore in high school and a Varsity tennis player, a climber, a do-er, and overall awesome kid. She enjoys all forms of artistic expression, including Irish dance, sewing, drawing, cardmaking, more. She was diagnosed with CAS when she was just shy of her third birthday. Now, at fifteen-and-a-half, she won’t stop talking. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her mom, dad, sister, and basset hound, Betsy Mae.
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