Tag Archives: Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech”

Apraxia Monday: Bounce Your Way to Words

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

Trampoline Mats
 
 
This past weekend we took our daughters to an indoor giant trampoline facility.  Aside from the fact that this was good, wholesome family fun–and exercise–it dawned on me just how powerful jumping is for the speech-language centers of our brain.  Call it vestibular stimulation or gross motor work, or whatever but it does something to jump-start (okay, couldn’t resist), our speech and language. 

Although we are no longer dealing with CAS in the instensity or severity we once were, I truly did see a change overcome Kate (now 7.9 years and in 2nd grade) as she boinged and bounced around the trampolines.  Her mind was present and engaged; she giggled as though there was no tomorrow, and she initiated a game of “mimic me.”  It went like this, “Okay, mom…I am going to do what you do [on the trampoline].”  And she did.  Not that I was all that innovative (or limber) on the giant stretchy material.  But sure, I did some seat-drops, high-knees, and straddles.  She did them all.  I counted and completed repetitions of exercises…say 10 seat-drops in a row and she watched, repeating what I had done.   

Now how does all of this relate to speech and language, you ask?  Bear with me. 

  • It helps organize thoughts
  • Kate’s  mimic game has a lot to do with turn-taking in coversations.  You speak, I speak.  We both listen (hopefully)…and observe. 
  • It gives kids a *boost* of confidence
  • Little talking is really required to jump on a trampoline.  It just takes a little skill and stability…even so, it’s still a ton of fun, and sure to elicit some smiles and giggles (which is a precursor to speech and language)
  • You can sneak in speech drills with trampolines, too…as you bounce along, quiz your child on words/phrases/sounds he is working on in speech therapy. 
  • Play I’m-gonna-get-you…and run about the trampolines.  When you “catch” each other, say a troublesome word/sound/phrase. 

Our experience wasn’t exactly cheap (about $10/per person) and I wouldn’t advise going to pricey indoor play gyms like this one all the time (or in lieu of speech therapy by a trained and qualifed SLP), but for an out-of-the-house experience, you and your family can have a fun and healthy time while sneaking in a little speech-langauge work.  And please use caution–as you would with any physical activity or sport.  Trampolines, if not used correctly can cause serious injury. 

For more tips & information on ideas like this (those involving gross motor, and the science behind it), please refer to chapter 8 in SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to CAS (Woodbine House, 2012).

Apraxia Monday: Practicing Pirate Poems

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

She shuffles her feet and looks up at me, a smirk growing across her face.  I nod and prompt her to continue. 

“I’m Captian Kid…my treasure is hid.” Her voice is strikingly loud and clear. 

My heart speeds up a little.  You can do it, kiddo!  It reminds me a lot of the time I sat (hugely pregnant with #2) in a cramped speech-pathologist’s office when this same little girl was being evaluated for a “speech delay.”  You can do it, kiddo!  I chanted in my mind.  Only back then it was simple imitation tasks like, “can you say, ‘moo?’ ”

Fastforward, nearly 6 years and this little girl–the one who couldn’t say ‘mama’ at  2 years old–is now reciting poems in 2nd grade.  She has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). 

Chances are, if you are reading this then you care deeply about a child with delayed speech or CAS.  It’s hard.  It’s baffling.  It’s discouraging.  But, I tell you…with proper interention (frequent, intense, and continuous) speech therapy with a qualified SLP, your child will make huge strides. 

Poetry and rhyming are traditionally very challenging for kiddos with childhood apraxia (CAS).  Why this is, is still a bit baffling to the researchers, but they believe that kids with apraxia may not fully hear the words and lack the ability to recognize the different phonemes.  (image source: http://blog.jumpstart.com/2009/01/30/tips-for-practicing-rhyming-words/)

I found this to be the case with my little Kate.  She couldn’t tell a rhyme from a ream. When we’d ask her, “Hey, I thinking of a word that rhymes with cat–what is it?!”  She would look at us blankly and say, “dog?”  When we would read rhyming books with her like, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, we’d leave last rhyming word hanging in hopes that Kate would supply it, but she wouldn’t.  Or couldn’t.  Instead, she would provide an alternate word with approximately the same meaning.  My husband knitted his eyebrows and looked over at me, as if saying, “what are we doing wrong?” 

Chances are, we did nothing wrong.  Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) can permeate every crevice of a family–right down to storytime. 

Now that Kate’s apraxia is in mega-resolving mode, we still have to work a little harder than other kids who don’t have apraxia.  We read that goofy poem at home for a good week before she was prepared to do in in class. 

“I’m Captain Kid and my treasure is hid!”  my voice bellowed. 

“Been that way for many a yer…”  my husband’s pirate voice boomed. 

My hubby and I read that poem to each other.  We read that poem to the kids.  We read it so Kate could hear how it was supposed to sound.  We read that poem in the car.  At step-dance.  At dinner.  At bedtime.  She had the darn thing memorizeed…heck, so did I!  And then we had her read it to us.  Lots of times. 

And when I popped a pirate hat on her and handed her a bag of chocolate coins covered in gold foil, she beamed.  She was ready. 

I am happy to report that ‘Captian Kate’ read that poem with fluency, expression, volume, intelligibility, and even interacted with the audience. 

Aye, aye! 

Say that Again: Apraxia…You just Gotta Practice

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

(image source: Shutterstock.com)  Norwegian researchers have devised a new way of creating a child-like synthetic voice for ...

Over the summer, I was a  guest blogger on Haley’s blog, “Say What, Y’all?”  Not only do I love the title of her blog, being a former Missourian myself, but I can totally relate to having said this euphemism so many times in my “career” of being an “apraxia mom.”  Here it is again for those of you who may have missed it: 

You won’t soon forget her.  The red hair and blue eyes the size of saucers will linger in your memory.  So, too will the fact that she is as fire-y and energetic as that copper hair that cascades down her back, framing her freckled face with possibility. 

And when you hear her speak, you may have an inkling that she once suffered from moderate to severe childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), or you may be none the wiser. Although Kate is a bright, creative, and eager soon-to-be 2nd grader, she has overcome a road block most of us never have to deal with: a struggle to communicate expressively. 

I won’t bore you with the early days of suspicion and diagnosis and our first experiences with an SLP, but I will give you just a teensy bit of background:  Kate didn’t say much of anything—expect a friendly “hi”—for the first 2 ½ years of her life.  She was diagnosed with CAS at that time and began an extensive speech therapy regime 2-3 times a week for about 2+ years.  She is speaking  just fine now—with a few minor backslides here and there. 

When I was in the midst of writing, “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” (Woodbine House, March 2012), I developed and facilitated a small parent education group called “Small Talk:  All About Apraxia” in the Chicagoland suburbs.  I wanted to connect with other parents also walking the apraxia path, hear their ideas and dilemmas, and facilitate their journey.  On one occasion, I brought Kate along.  Actually, she asked to join me!

“Mom, can I go to your [a]praxia group?”  She inquired one afternoon.

I shrugged and bit the inside of my cheek, “Well, I guess so.” I replied.  “But it might be a little boring for you…a bunch of mommies talking about apraxia…” 

“I don’t care.  I want to hear what you’re talking about,” she replied. 

And so she came.  But, beforehand, I asked her to think about what she might say to these parents.  She pondered that a moment and then rushed off to her room where she sat at her desk drafting out a speech.  She presented it to me just before we headed out that evening.  It read:

“I have upraxea [apraxia].  It is not seryous [serious].  All you have to do is practis [practice] your words more.  Don’t wory [worry].  Your kids will be ok.” 

Pride coursed through my veins.  I hugged my daughter and praised her for being able to communicate her thoughts on the disorder that has plagued her for most of her life.  It’s not every child who has that insight at her age. 

Once at our “Small Talk” meeting, I introduced Kate to the group.  The mommies smiled encouragingly as she read from her paper in stilted English, much like we might if we were visiting a foreign country and reading from a Berlitz book.  They beamed and applauded afterwards, some even dabbing their eyes. 

You see, it took a lot of courage for her to come to the group that evening and speak to a group of adults she didn’t know about something so intimate and close to her—to us as a family.  I couldn’t have been more proud. 

As usual, she was one to something.  Having apraxia really just means that one needs to practice speaking more than others.  While I don’t want to oversimplify things—it’s hard, long practice—but if we as parents can reframe the diagnosis of CAS to “a-word-practicing-disorder,” we may have a lot less stress and anxiety.

Today—literally—we were talking about some words that are troublesome for Kate.  She said, “I can’t really say shoulder.  It sounds like soldier.  And what’s a scone, anyway?  You mean cone, right?”   As a family, we laughed—we agreed—there are some words that are hard to say.  But if you practice them, you just might learn to say them. 

“ Apraxia.  You just gotta practice.”  –Kate L. 

Bio

Leslie Lindsay is a former child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic. It is because of her daughter that Leslie wrote the first book designed for parents on this complex neurologically-based motor speech disorder.  Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech(Woodbine House, 2012) is as much as labor of love as it is a resource to help others along their apraxia journey.  She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two daughters, and a basset hound where she writes full-time. She is currently at work on a women’s fiction novel.  Follow her blog, www.leslie4kids.wordpress.com
“Practical Parenting with a Twist” in which she writes 5x/week on apraxia, education, parenting, and the writer’s life.

Apraxia Monday: Tips for Teachers

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

Teachers and the Push for Online Education

Your children may already be back in school–or you may have week or two before the big day.  In any case, you’re likely thinking about it–specifics, plus the extras like how you’re going to talk to your child’s teacher about CAS (if you haven’t already).  But what if you are a teacher who has a child with apraxia in your classroom this year? 

Here are a few tips and ideas from parents who may help you understand what all of the hoop-la is about. 

(retrieved from CASANA, 8.30.12, a YouTube video]   See this short video on Apraxia.  It’s a worth your 3 minutes!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nN9dG5F7M0

Tips for Teachers

If you are a teacher reading this, then hooray! I applaud your efforts to learn more about the kiddos in your classroom.

  • Read the child’s IEP.
  • If parents challenge your knowledge, make special requests, or argue for a special IEP meeting, remind them that you are on their side and please don’t take it personally.As parents we just want the very best for our children and we might get a little passionate about it.
  • Communicate privately with parents and never in front of other classmates,unless it is to give really good praise that will make your student feel really proud.These kids often know they can’t communicate as effectively as their peers and they may feel a bit defensive about it. Help build their self-esteem in every opportunity you can find.
  • Give parents advice and insight you learned from teaching their child. For example, “Kate did a great job teaching another student about how we sit at Circle Time. She loves to be in the helper role.” Parents love to hear praise and stories about their child doing well.
  • You may need to do a bit more “pre-teaching” when working with a child with CAS.Let her hear and practice vocabulary words ahead of time (send them home in backpack with a letter to parents indicating the upcoming unit).
  • You might need to work a bit harder to engage a student with apraxia in group activities.Don’t take it personally if she doesn’t respond right away (or at all); just keep trying.
  • Each day is a new beginning.What this student struggled with yesterday could be a non-issue today. Please don’t hold grudges.
  • Be sure you give your students with CAS lots of praise.It helps their confidence level and self-esteem. While you’re at it, praise her parents, too. They’re working really hard all day, every day, to help their child.
  • Relate something special about your student to the parents at least weekly.I can’t tell you how happy it made me to receive an out-of-the-blue email from our teacher saying something like, “Kate was really cute today in class when she started dancing and singing, ‘Mama Mia!’” Small accomplishments mean a lot to us parents.
  • Respond to parents in one way or another (phone, email, “I’ll get back to you later”), even if you don’t have an answer.Parents do not like feeling like they have been forgotten.
  • Realize that we all get burned out.Parents need encouragement and motivation, just like teachers. If we can encourage one another, then all the better!

[Excerpt from SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A PARENT’S GUIDE TO CHILDHOOD APRAXIA OF SPEECH, Woodbine House, 2012.  Available thru Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and publisher’s website, www.woodbinehouse.com]

Apraxia Monday (on Thursday): Teaching the Teacher about Apraxia

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

If you are like me, then you have just spent a good chunk of your evening wondering about your child’s new school year.  Who is her teacher?  What time is the bus coming?   Do I have all of the necessary school supplies?  What about shoes?  That first-day-of-school outfit?  (It’s a big day for all that in my neck of the woods here in Chicagoland). 

But have you thought about how you might broach the subject of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) with your classroom teacher? 

Like many, your child’s teacher may not know what CAS is–or how to help.  It’s up to you to inform them.  Short of giving them a copy of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012)–okay, shameless plus–you can do a few other things to prepare yourself and your child for a successful year in the classroom. 

Teaching Your Child’s Teachers about Apraxia [excerpted from Speaking of Apraxia, Woodbine House 2012.  Available where books are sold) 

Do you wonder what you should tell your child’s teacher about apraxia?  Not all teachers will have specific knowledge on all special needs. Kate’s preschool teacher (you can adapt your needs to any grade) admitted that she didn’t know much about apraxia, but she was very willing to learn. She knew it had something to do with verbal skills, but that was about it.

It helped a little to give Kate’s teacher the scientific explanation: “It’s a motor-neurological communication disorder in which she knows what she wants to say, but just can’t quite get it out.” What really helped was when I said, “It’s like being totally exhausted and not able to carry on a conversation.” She got it then. I further explained that Kate had to work really hard to have even a simple conversation.    

Other explanations from parents you may consider adapting:

  • “You know that feeling of being tongue-tied, or having a thought on the tip of your tongue? Well, that’s how Adam feels most of the time.”  
  • “Ask someone how their day was, and then tell them they can’t use their words to tell you.

What’s a Parent to Do? Meet with the teacher as early in the year as possible and share with her specific information about CAS and how it affects your child. There is a fabulous “Dear Teacher” letter on the Apraxia-Kids website written by Sharon Gretz, MEd, the founder of CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association North America). I urge parents to print it and give it to your child’s teacher. You can find the letter at www.apraxia-KIDS.org. Once on the page, head to the search field, type “teacher letter.” You’ll get several hits, but the one you want is a letter that is downloadable in PDF format. The neat thing about this letter is it gives suggestions on how teachers can help your child at school.

While you’re on the Apraxia-Kids site, look at the brochures about apraxia written with a lay-person in mind. Like the “teacher letters,” these brochures are downloadable and printable. Consider including one with the letter you give your child’s teacher. Make it into a little “welcome to my child packet.” Including a brief write-up on things about your child is very helpful, too. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy, just a few bullet points like this:

  • Fun, outgoing child
  • Likes art and being creative
  • Excels at gross motor activities
  • Slow to warm up, may need to be drawn into social situations with specific questions or play
  • Loves books

Of course, your descriptions may be different than mine! Now if every parent would do something like this for their child’s teachers (whether or not they have CAS), it would take a lot of guesswork out of teacher’s lives.

Here are some more tips on putting together an information packet for the teacher:

  • Give her a book (like this one) or DVD on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (“Hope Speaks” is available on the Apraxia-Kids website: www.apraxia-kids.org).
  • Provide a list of easy ideas that may help with speech in the classroom (refer to Chapter 9).
  • Remind the teacher that while your child sometimes has a hard time communicating, or takes longer than usual to respond to a question, apraxia does not affect her intelligence.  She does not have to simplify things for your child if she only has CAS. (Of course, if she has Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, or another disability in addition to CAS, you will want to advise her about any learning difficulties related to the other condition.)
  • Offer to create a communication notebook or worksheet that can be shared between parent and teacher. We made worksheets on the computer. I printed out five of them Sunday night and placed them in Kate’s backpack for Monday morning. Each day her teacher filled them out and sent them home with Kate. This daily report gave me some talking points for Kate about her day.
  • Be open and available. In The Complete Guide to Special Education, authors Dr. Linda Wilmshurst and Dr. Alan Brue recommend that you keep your ears and mind open to new ideas from your child’s teacher or other school professional. They typically have lots of experience and ideas in working with kids that just might help yours. If you disagree with a suggestion, ask more about it. It’s part of their job to explain it.
  • Consider communicating some tidbits from the home front. For example, things like “Papa and Nana visited this past weekend,” or “Kate really enjoys the unit on frogs—ask her what we saw last night when we visited the neighborhood pond.”  This gives your child’s teacher something to ask her about and encourages verbalization on things that are meaningful to your child’s home life.

***LET US KNOW WHAT HAS BEEN HELPFUL FOR YOU IN THE PAST?  HOW HAVE YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER ABOUT CAS?***

Apraxia Update: One Week Till The Walk in Michigan

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

Just one week to go till I make an appearance at the SE Michigan walk for apraxia.  It’s going to be a fun time as we all support a complex, neurologically-based motor speech disorder (gosh, that’s a mouthful…ironically). 

Here’s some information that you may find handy as you make plans for the weekend, from the Apraxia-Kids website (who sponsors the walks nationwide):

http://www.apraxia-kids.org/faf/help/helpEventInfo.asp?ievent=1013204&lis=1&kntae1013204=9DFC408896BF4EFDBF20FBC3D5A67093

I’ll be there with my own family–a daughter who is also recovering from CAS–and maybe even a basset hound (who could use some speech therapy because all she seems to do is grunt and groan…it’s such a harsh life she leads).  Naaa…we’ll probably leave Miss Sally Mae at home under the care of our neighbors. 

Joking aside, this is a serious matter and I am honored to be asked to attend the walk.  Not only will I be there supporting a good cause, but a lovely family who was part of my Small Talk: All About Apraxia group spring 2011.  I’ll also have books available for purchase/signing ($20 cash, suggested retail is $24.95). 

Come on out!  Help spread the word on apraxia…

(Woodbine House, 2o12) 

Apraxia Monday: Improving Reading Skills

Standard

 

children_reading-istimewa.jpg image by bankfotowol
By Leslie Lindsay 

If you have a child with CAS (childhood apraxia of speech), then you are probably aware that verbal communication is a bit of a…well, challenge.  It may also come as no surprise that reading and writing may also be a challenge for your little one with CAS.  You will likely start to see this struggle as your kiddo hits the later preschool years (Pre-K) moving into kindergarten.

Since it’s summertime, it may be a great time to practice these skills without the pressure to perform.  You and your child can progress at a rate that is comfortable to you….and come fall, your child with apraxia is ready to put those hard-learned skills into action.

But let’s start with the basics: why is it so hard for kids with CAS to read and write?  Aside from pulling out some heavy-duty texts to explain all of this, I will just provide a couple of basics:

1.  Kids who aren’t making sounds accurately–or at all–may have a decreased visual of what letters look–and sound like.

2.  Kids with speech-language disorders may have a distorted sense of what the symbols (those things we call “letters”) represent (words). 

3.  Children with apraxia may have “differently wired” brains, affecting what–and how–they read, learn, and interpret information.

4.  Children with apraxia may have a decreased ability to coordinate the vocal track in producing a word.

The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) created the National Reading Panel.  They determined that kids need a variety of techniques to learn to read:

  • Phonemic (sound) awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Guided oral reading
  • Teaching of vocabulary words
  • Reading comprehension strategies 

If that all sounds like blah, blah, blah to you…bear with me.  It’s not nearly as mysterious as it sounds.

So, What’s a Parent to do?!

Make it fun.  That, of course is your #1 goal when you work with your child on these often hard-to-master skills.  “If it ain’t fun, they ain’t gonna do it!”

Read, Read, Read!  You can start with a love for reading.  Let your child see you reading.  Really, anything counts…magazines, books, newspapers.  Just the fact that you are reading sets the stage for your child to do the same.  But also read with your child.  Start out with repetitive books.  Those stories that are predictable may be boring to you, but for your child they bring to life the idea that they can predict what is going to happen next (a very empowering skill), plus, they are easier to memorize in which it may look as if your child is “reading” it on her own.

Introduce rhyme.  Read books that rhyme, or just make up silly jingles while doing your everyday things…like preparing lunch or driving in the car.  “What rhymes with jelly?  Belly!  That’s right!  I’ve got a jelly belly!!”  Can you say that?!  Let me hear you…

Next, you can have your child discriminate rhyme.  “What rhymes with Sam?  Am or eggs?”  The sillier the better.

Then have your child produce rhyme.  It works like this:  “I am thinking of a word that rhymes with Sun, but starts with /f/ [fun].  Just make sure you make the sound of the letter /f/ and not say, F.  (A great activity to do on those summer road trips).

We’ll, talk more about helping your child with reading skills next week on “Apraxia Monday.”  Stay tuned, too for later weeks on writing skills.

Check out these blogs for a review of Speaking of Apraxia (Woodbine House, March 2012) and a chance to win a FREE copy of the book, where you can learn more information about helping your child with school-based skills like reading and writing in chapter 12. 

Special thanks to PediaProgress of Downer’s Grove, IL for information on the NICHD and rhyming examples from their April 5, 2012 presentation.  www.pediaprogress.com

 

 

 

Apraxia Monday: Dealing with the Dark Days

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

I am a day behind…but, here goes “Apraxia Monday” on Tuesday.  I’d like to share with you a few comments, emails that I have received from folks who have a child with with apraxia (CAS).

“Dear Leslie, I have a son with apraxia.  While he is in intensive therapy and progressing, I am an absolute wreck.  I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of your book for months.  Bless you for all you have done to help us parents.”

And another….

“Dear Leslie, My 2.5 year old daughter has apraxia.  She has been in therapy since she was 18 months old.  Most days we go about our daily life without dwelling on apraxia too much–but I have days where I break down and fear for the future.  I need someone who can understand and relate.  It’s getting harder to see her grunt at people and have them stare at me as if I am a clueless parent.  Instead of driving her to [speech] therapy, I dream I am driving her to ballet class in a pink frilly tutu.”

I chose both of these emails for two reasons…

1.  They represent both boys and girls affected with CAS (the incidence of CAS is actually a little higher for males than females by about 4:1, but it affects both sexes).

2.  And they share how parents feel at the deep core:  “I am a wreck.” and “I dream of driving her to ballet….” 

It’s not easy having a child with apraxia.  There is a lot of strain and planning…the logistics of having a child with a special need can be overwhelming:  when to go to therapy (how to squeeze it into an already full life), what to do with siblings while your other child is at speech therapy, how to pay for it all…and then there’s just the plain ol’ coping with a special need on a personal level (dealing with unwanted stares from strangers, feelings of grief and uncertainty, frustrations, etc).

What’s a parent to do?!  (below is an excerpt from Speaking of Apraxia, Woodbine House, March 2012).

  • Determine how you keep your pitcher filled. We all need to fill our personal well from time to time. How do you do it? What do you need to feel energized and ready to go? It’s different for everyone. For you, it may be a morning jog, an afternoon nap, time on Facebook, a crafty enterprise, a phone call to a good friend, or daily prayer. You need to find and make the time to keep your pitcher filled.
  • Know that you need breaks, too. I guarantee you will feel better if you schedule a break for yourself. Did you know that employers are supposed to give employees a fifteen-minute break for every four hours of work? Even if you are an at-home mom, you are still working and you deserve a break.
  • Reclaim past hobbies or explore new ones. Always wanted to learn about spelunking or knitting? Why not absorb yourself in learning about something new? You may find that you become less focused on the problems (of apraxia) and more interested in something that revs you up.
  • Schedule time away. It doesn’t have to be a trip to theVirgin Islands, but go somewhere, even if it is just to the hotel down the road for a night (or your parent’s or friend’s home). Put it on the calendar. You are that important.
  • Connect with your friends. No doubt you will meet others who have a child with apraxia or other speech-language needs. That’s great. Share stories and feelings about your unique experience, but remember that you have other friends, too.Connect with friends who aren’t all about apraxia, too.
  • Join a Support Group.  You may want to look into a support group for parents and caregivers of children with apraxia. You’ll learn a lot, connect, commiserate, and have a unique bond with others. You can start by joining listservs at Apraxia-Kids (www.apraxia-kids.org)  and Speechville (www.speechville.com).  There may even be one in your local area like Windy City Apraxia (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/windycityapraxia/)  in theChicago  area. For help finding a support group, ask your SLP or early intervention team or even consider starting your own (see Chapter 16).
  • Remember that you are not alone. You have friends and family. Rely on them. Ask specifically for their support.
  • Learn about CAS and brush up on terminology that goes along with the diagnosis. You may want to seek out more information than this book provides. Go for it. If you don’t understand something your therapist is sharing with you, ask. You weren’t born knowing everything about speech and language issues. You will uncover lots of terminology and abbreviations.
  • Use coping strategies that have worked for you in the past. Whatever it is—getting a massage, heading to “Fatblaster” at the gym, eating a bucket of popcorn at the movies, or reading a juicy new book—it’s important that you take care of yourself.

What do you do to deal with the “dark days?”  Your ideas and insights may help someone else who is struggling. 

 

Apraxia Monday: Getting to “Diagnosed with Apraxia”

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

This Just In:  I was recently asked by Pediatric Health Associates of Naperville/Plainfield, IL to be a guest blogger on their website/blog.  Here’s a brief run-down of how we got to the point of seeking out an SLP for our daughter’s suspected speech “problem.”  (at the time, we didn’t know it was apraxia).  All thanks to our pediatrician who suggested we get her speech evaluated.  Read the blog yourself here:  http://www.pedhealth.blogspot.com/

We all have a story to tell about when and how our child was ultimately diagnosed with CAS.  Do you remember the day well?  Was it a blur?  Do you wish you could forget it?

It is often these stories that shape our understanding–and often outcome–of our child’s diagnosis.  If you had a chance to recreate that story with exactly all of the details that made the story more “healing”/proactive would you?  Do you believe it unfolded just the way it was *meant* to?

I suppose I am of the camp that believes everything-happens-for-a-reason.  As I look back on my daughter’s early days of having received her CAS diagnosis, I am pretty comfortable with how everything worked out.  We were fortuante enough to have caring, astute medical professionals on-board at an early age who helped guide us in the right direction–that of the SLP.

However, I realize not all families are quite so lucky.  If you are suspecting your child has a speech-language delay/concern, please bring it to the attention of a trusted medical provider.  While it is true that M.D.s and Nurse Practioners cannot diagnose CAS, they can point you in the right direction.  If you are unable to connect with a medical professional, contact your local early intervention program, even a preschool would be able to give you some hints or tips on where to go if you are unsure.

Okay, that’s enough of my PSA for the day!  Please feel free to share your comments and experiences with learning your child’s diagnosis.  Who was it that ultimately got you on the right path to intervention?

Check out Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, March 2012) from your local library, Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=speaking+of+apraxia&sprefix=Speaking+of+Apraxia%2Caps%2C479, Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/speaking-of-apraxia-leslie-lindsay/1108043955?ean=9781606130612, or Woodbine House, www.woodbinehouse.com

Apraxia Monday: Chapter 6 Excerpt

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

An excerpt from “Speaking of Apraxia:  A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech” (Woodbine House, March 2012).

6

So What Caused All of This?

Theories and Medical Diagnoses Related to CAS

You’d like to blame someone, anyone, for the misfortunate combination of luck and biology that lead to your child having Childhood Apraxia of Speech. But chances are, there is nothing or no one who can take the blame. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what causes CAS. To date, the professionals can’t agree on a cause—but there are lots of theories. I am certainly no expert in CAS theory, so if you really have an interest in this topic, I urge you to seek out additional resources.

The Nuts and Bolts of This Chapter

  • A review of the ASHA 2007 Ad Hoc Technical Document on Childhood Apraxia of Speech, which summarized what is known about CAS and advanced three theories about is causes. .
  • Familial factors, infectious diseases, and medically based diagnoses that may involved with a CAS diagnosis.
  • Some theories proposed by parents, including traumatic birth experiences and environmental toxins.
  • A discussion on the possibility of an “apraxia gene.”

Of course, you are wondering why your little one has CAS. As mentioned before, CAS is a relatively “new” diagnosis (not used for children until the 1960s) and much research is still going on. In fact, some practitioners and researchers will say that we are still at “square one” in identifying this disorder. There are no clear-cut answers as to what caused your child to have CAS.

But there are theories—several of them. Some theorists believe that CAS is based on underlying language issues. Others believe that the brain isn’t formulating and sending the correct “message” to the muscles involved in speech. Still others think that children with CAS have problems listening to and interpreting speech. Those who are genetic experts point out that CAS runs in families–that members may have a history of apraxia, another speech concern (late- talking or stuttering for example), or other learning differences. Recent research findings point toward this genetic perspective.

Looking for more?! Then, it may be time to order a copy of “Speaking of Apraxia.”  You can order it directly from the publisher, Woodbine House, Inc. at www.woodbinehouse.com or thru www.Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com