A Be the Voice Success Story

“All those years have taught me how to fight for those who cannot and now I face my toughest challenge, the fight to help and support my son.” ~Nicole Araujo

For many years Nicole Araujo worked as an advocate for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. She now uses those skills to give her own son the best support possible since his diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) in February 2020. 

When her son was a baby, Nicole noticed a delay in his speech compared to his older sibling.  By the time he was 18 months old, he was only speaking a few words consistently and he was then referred to an early intervention program where he received both speech therapy and services from a developmental interventionist.  As her son continued to grow older, Nicole’s “mom-gut” continued to make her feel as though she needed to explore more information about possible deeper issues. They continued their journey, and when her child was almost 3 years old, they began to look at the possibility of childhood apraxia of speech – a disorder that Nicole and her family never heard about before, but their speech-language pathologist had mentioned. The diagnosis fit the speech complications affecting her child, which led Nicole on a new journey of learning all she could about apraxia, treatment, and what the future might hold.

As she researched, Nicole discovered many resources, information, and materials offered by Apraxia Kids to aid her mission of fighting for her son. Plus, she began to spread awareness about childhood apraxia of speech by wearing apraxia awareness shirts, purchasing shirts for her child’s teachers and therapist to wear on Apraxia Awareness Day (May 14), and discovering the local Walk for Apraxia.  In addition, this past January, Nicole put her creative ideas into action and hosted a Be the Voice event to spread awareness about childhood apraxia of speech and raise funds for Apraxia Kids.  She partnered with a direct sales organization called One Hope to host a virtual fundraiser selling wine through this company. The organization created a fundraising link for her to share with family, friends, and supporters, and when they made a purchase, a percentage of the sales were donated directly to Apraxia Kids.  

During her fundraising efforts, Nicole used resources from the Apraxia Kids website to explain CAS to her event participants. She picked the Be the Voice platform because it offers a unique way to engage and connect with others while supporting a cause now so important to her.  “Apraxia Kids does so much and has taught me a lot about what apraxia is and how to help my son, and kids like him,” Nicole expressed. 

Awareness and fundraising efforts like Nicole’s are imperative to help normalize the conversation about CAS so that future families have a foundation of information upon a diagnosis.  “…I would love to learn from all the parents, teachers, and therapists who have been through it, and continue on their journey,” Nicole said,  “I want to be able to help my child in any way that I can, and other kids like him.”

Early in their apraxia journey, Nicole’s family also felt the hurdles of the pandemic and the loss of a very close loved one.  They had to make tough adjustments to life, while learning how to support their child with apraxia and mourn at the same time. However, though it all, Nicole said her child never lost focus on his desire to push, work hard, and strive to reach his speech goals. He is an Apraxia Star!

 

“All those years have taught me how to fight for those who cannot and now I face my toughest challenge, the fight to help and support my son.” ~Nicole Araujo

For many years Nicole Araujo worked as an advocate for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. She now uses those skills to give her own son the best support possible since his diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) in February 2020. 

When her son was a baby, Nicole noticed a delay in his speech compared to his older sibling.  By the time he was 18 months old, he was only speaking a few words consistently and he was then referred to an early intervention program where he received both speech therapy and services from a developmental interventionist.  As her son continued to grow older, Nicole’s “mom-gut” continued to make her feel as though she needed to explore more information about possible deeper issues. They continued their journey, and when her child was almost 3 years old, they began to look at the possibility of childhood apraxia of speech – a disorder that Nicole and her family never heard about before, but their speech-language pathologist had mentioned. The diagnosis fit the speech complications affecting her child, which led Nicole on a new journey of learning all she could about apraxia, treatment, and what the future might hold.

As she researched, Nicole discovered many resources, information, and materials offered by Apraxia Kids to aid her mission of fighting for her son. Plus, she began to spread awareness about childhood apraxia of speech by wearing apraxia awareness shirts, purchasing shirts for her child’s teachers and therapist to wear on Apraxia Awareness Day (May 14), and discovering the local Walk for Apraxia.  In addition, this past January, Nicole put her creative ideas into action and hosted a Be the Voice event to spread awareness about childhood apraxia of speech and raise funds for Apraxia Kids.  She partnered with a direct sales organization called One Hope to host a virtual fundraiser selling wine through this company. The organization created a fundraising link for her to share with family, friends, and supporters, and when they made a purchase, a percentage of the sales were donated directly to Apraxia Kids.  

During her fundraising efforts, Nicole used resources from the Apraxia Kids website to explain CAS to her event participants. She picked the Be the Voice platform because it offers a unique way to engage and connect with others while supporting a cause now so important to her.  “Apraxia Kids does so much and has taught me a lot about what apraxia is and how to help my son, and kids like him,” Nicole expressed. 

Awareness and fundraising efforts like Nicole’s are imperative to help normalize the conversation about CAS so that future families have a foundation of information upon a diagnosis.  “…I would love to learn from all the parents, teachers, and therapists who have been through it, and continue on their journey,” Nicole said,  “I want to be able to help my child in any way that I can, and other kids like him.”

Early in their apraxia journey, Nicole’s family also felt the hurdles of the pandemic and the loss of a very close loved one.  They had to make tough adjustments to life, while learning how to support their child with apraxia and mourn at the same time. However, though it all, Nicole said her child never lost focus on his desire to push, work hard, and strive to reach his speech goals. He is an Apraxia Star!

 



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