10 Things I Wished I had Known About Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

As many of you know, my family and I are expecting baby number three in just a few short weeks. As I take some time off from work and blogging to spend time with my family both before and after my new son’s birth, I am thrilled to share with you some amazing posts written by some very talented bloggers. So please sit back, relax and enjoy this guest post and leave a comment letting us know what you think! Today I am excited to have Leslie Lindsay, RN BSN Author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech here with us to share some insights on being a parent of a child with CAS. 

When I look back over the years of our apraxia journey, I am reminded of the simple truths I wish I had known long ago, wholesome happy moments that really have little to do with apraxia and more to do with being a mother, a child, and a family.  Here goes:

  • A child is a child no matter what.  I may have wished for a perfect child who was above average in all their pursuits, but what fun is that?  Perfection has its downsides; I’d rather a child full of whim and vigor, a child who needs to overcome obstacles to understand that not everything is easy-peasy achievable in this life.
  • I am a mother first and an advocate second.  It may seem as if there’s little differentiation between the two, but I like to think that first I became a mother; providing snuggles and love, safety, food, shelter and clothing.  And then I became an advocate, seeking ways to help my child be the best she can be in terms of her speech development.
  • As a family unit, we work together.  Apraxia is a family affair.  We learn, we help, and we interpret together.  Sure, it can take its toll on us just like everything but it’s important that we all pull together to help our Team Apraxia.
  • 7f (1) Extended family is important, too. Don’t forget grandma and grandpa.  Educating them about apraxia and how it affects your family is key, no matter how far or close you are in proximity.  Extended family can provide a wealth of support—emotionally, physically, financially, and practically.  Perhaps grandparents can assist with getting your child to and from speech therapy…maybe they have stories to share of past generations with speech troubles.  Try educating them on apraxia and having them work with your child to practice their sounds.  Maybe you just need to bend their ear.
  • Speech Apraxia is serious, but it’s not the end of the world. When I first heard the term ‘apraxia,’ I didn’t know what to think.  Was this a big deal, a little deal, or somewhere in the middle?  Was it like stuttering or a lisp?  I was really in the dark.  Had my diagnosing SLP told me, “this is serious, but we can work with your daughter to make it right,” I may not have freaked out.
  • Take what you find about CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) on the Internet with a grain of salt.  That, said there are a lot of great resources on the Internet…and some not-so-good resources.  Be critical.  Don’t assume that just because you read it on the Internet, it’s the be-all-end all.  Ask questions, look at multiple sources, go to the main source.  And beware of well-known, reputable websites as well.  When I hopped on for the first time, I was overwhelmed and panicked.  Would my child ever be able to talk?  Would she ever be considered “normal?”  I catastrophized, and wished I hadn’t.
  • It’s okay to get your child involved in activities with other kids.  Encouraged, even!!  At times you may be reluctant to keep your child away from social experiences in which he is required to speak (birthday parties without you, community education, preschool, library programs, sports, dance). While it may seem like you are being an advocate for your kiddo, it may actually hinder his ability to be in control of his own apraxia.  It teaches self-monitoring, independence, and self-actualization. Equip your child with a few functional phrases beforehand, though (Eg.,“Wait!” “My name is ___,”  “Hi,”  “Want to play?”  “Okay!” If your child is more nonverbal than that, teach appropriate body language like nodding or shaking her head, smiles, waves.)
  • It’s okay to ask for help. When you feel stuck, reach out.  You may find that a group, your child’s SLP, or special needs teacher can help you identify ways to make things easier and better for you, your child, and your family.  A tutor, babysitter, student (speech pathology, special/education, nursing, or retired SLP) can be a life-saver when it comes to practicing speech work, or just respite care.  It takes a village to raise a child!
  • speakingofapraxia cover If you have other children, remember they need you, too.  If you need to bring other children along to the speech waiting room, bring something fun the two (or three) of you can do together while you wait.  Coloring books, reading, a small craft, puzzles, a quiet toy; or consider a quick dash to the playground or ice cream.  You are just providing different needs for different children.
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech Does Get Better! Not all kids will gain speech growth in the same manner, but they do get better.  This is a wonderful thing!  There’s a reason it’s called ‘childhood’—the duration of CAS is typically birth thru 8 years.  It could be a little less or a little more, depending on your child’s personality, determination/motivation, overall intelligence, access to therapy, home practice, and co-occuring disorders like AD/HD, autism, Down’s syndrome, anxiety, etc.  Sure, your child may slip up from time to time on challenging words, when they are tired or stressed, or learning a new set of vocabulary (math terms, history, science), but overall your child’s speech should be on-par with peers around age 8.

Most of all, I’ve learned that love and time really can “cure” a lot of things.  Thanks to Katie and Playing with Words 365 for having me—just honored!! 

Leslie Author Pic Leslie Lindsay is a former Mayo Clinic Child/Adolescent Psychiatric RN and a mother of a daughter with CAS.  She is also the author of the Reader’s Choice Finalist & ForeWord Review Book of the Year Finalist  SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012).  She lives in Chicagoland with her family where she is busy working on her next book in the women’s fiction genre.  You can follow long on Facebook, Twitter, and on her Website/Blog. Speaking Of Apraxia is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble (in-store and on-line) and Woodbine House

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About Katie

Katie is a licensed, credentialed and certified pediatric speech-language pathologist and mom to three (5, 3 and 9 months). Her passion about educating, inspiring and empowering parents of children with all abilities led her to start her blog Playing With Words 365 where she shares information about speech and language development, therapy ideas and tips, intervention strategies and a little about her family life too. Katie has been working in the field of speech pathology for 9 years and is certified in The Hanen Centre’s It Takes Two to Talk ® and Target Word ® programs and holds a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to blogging and being a mommy, Katie works part time in her small private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Katie, for giving us readers the gift of Leslie’s wisdom. I wish I had read this upon first knowing that something wasn’t quite right with my 2 yr old son…one SLP says he does have apraxia; the other says he doesn’t,so the jury’s still out. We do know that he has a speech delay, but is making wonderful progress. I feel his success has been accelerated by my having faith and really taking the time to ENJOY my son rather than always “drilling” things into him with my advocate hat on…

    I have experienced so many raw emotions during this journey: sadness, worry, and, yes, anger. The latter mostly directed toward my mother-in-law who is the complete opposite of me. When I realized DS had challenges, I became Johnny-on-the-spot on how to fix them. My MIL, on the other hand, was in complete denial when my husband had HIS language issues as a child. It’s almost like she shut down. Now, not surprisingly, she has guilt about how she dealt with things, I can tell. However, she still refuses to share history with me, and for this reason my struggle to forgive her and accept her as she is continues…
    The Queen Mother recently posted..Why I purchased Score #31: My son keeps “adjusting” himself in bedMy Profile

    • Caleb's Mom says:

      Thanks for this. After a year of speech therapy with no progress and I answers and another year of speech therapy with progress and maybe apraxia finally landing on “consistant with a diagnosis of apraxia” earlier today I find this artical very comforting.

  2. Angelina says:

    Thank you for the time and energy put in to give us all peace of mind. My son has had been diagnosed with Apraxia of Speach at age 4. He is now 12yrs! I have due to a family move at about 8 yrs old to a different state, he has not seen any private therapy for 4 years now. He gets it at school, but I wish I could offer him more. With one car and a recent family economical crunch, three other children, I can’t seem to find the money or time to continue private therapy. My husband is hard on him not letting him finish his sentence due to mumbling, cutting him off mid-sentence. It’s frustrating for my son and me to sit by and listen as my husband gets down right angry with my son for not talking right. I don’t know how to approach without his accusations of me be passive, and ho-hum about the Speach. I love my son he’s now 12 yrs old and mumbles at times so classmates may not understand him and now is in the dangerous age of being classified as weird or different from other kids, making friends are difficult for him in our recent new school. I need advice my son is not the “childhood” apraxia now and is now “teen” Apraxia!! Is there any hope out there? I’m worried for him, his making friends and his relationship with his frustrated father. He was born with this and I personally want the family to stop making it a big deal and just love him for who he is. But it is hard to see him not being able to be like the other teens. If there’s any parenting tips that I could read up on that are related to my teen with apraxia, could I be emailed on it?? Thank you for the time.

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