Mom of Kourtney, age 12
When Kourtney started grade school, it was a big transition from pre-school for a kiddo with severe Apraxia of Speech. How do you help your child navigate a big elementary school when they have so limited communication? I didn’t want to make her feel any more “different” than she did already by drawing attention to her speech disorder, but it seemed that some education of her classmates needed to be done. Kourtney and I sat down and came up with a 5 minute presentation about Apraxia of Speech and what was helpful to a child with this challenging speech disorder. The CASANA website had a great template for an “All About Me” page to help people get to know a child with Apraxia.
I sat nervously at the front of the classroom with Kourtney. We explained to the class about Apraxia and shared some things about Kourtney that she was unable to share on her own. One metaphor we used was the monkey bars: just as every bar gets harder and harder, every word gets harder and harder for Kourtney as she speaks. As I continued to explain Apraxia and give examples of how to help a child with Apraxia, Kourtney jumped in and would say a resounding “yes!” to show that she was passionate about what I was trying to explain. She said she wanted other kids to ask her to play. The class was so wonderfully receptive and talking about Apraxia made a big difference in how the other students empathized with Kourtney. Every year we did a version of this speech and it empowered Kourtney to have a voice. I am so incredibly proud of Kourtney advocating for herself in her own way.
My personal motto is:
The question at the IEP meeting should not be “Why?”, but “Why not?”