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Lisa, Washington, DCStars

Mother of Sam, age 15

lisa cutlerWhen Sam was 4 years old, his public preschool hired a new SLP. The school was so excited that they’d found someone who could help Sam begin to speak — the SLP told the principal she had a special program for apraxia.

After 5 months of little progress, I asked for a meeting with the IEP team. My heart sank as the SLP described her sessions with Sam, and I realized that her program consisted of hours of oral motor exercises – blowing cotton balls across the table, moving the tongue from side to side. She never asked Sam to attempt a speech sound, saying he wasn’t yet ready.

I knew from the Apraxia-Kids listserv that unless the SLP was willing to change her approach, the 2 hours per week of 1:1 therapy that I’d fought for would be a waste of everyone’s time. The meeting was very tense. I had no training in speech language pathology I knew a lot about what treatment for a child with apraxia should look like and I wasn’t going to be intimidated.

The school eventually decided to retain an additional therapist with experience treating motor speech disorders just to work with Sam. He began to make progress again. To this day I’m grateful to CASANA for equipping me with the knowledge I needed to be an effective advocate and also to his school for agreeing that his treatment should be guided by the scientific literature.

My motto:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Apraxia Awareness Day 2