Young Adults with Apraxia – Alyson Taylor

About Myself:
My name is Alyson Taylor; I am 28 years old and work full time as a Paralegal with a cybersecurity company called Venafi. I am currently attending Penn State University for my Master’s in Business Administration. I blog and share my Apraxia journey on my Facebook page, Apraxia Aly Girl with a Funny Accent, but life gets busy with work, school, and being a Dog Mom.

Being diagnosed with Apraxia in the nineties (when little was known about the disorder), as an adult I am passionate about Apraxia advocacy. I serve on the Board of Directors with Apraxia Kids motivated by my childhood dream that no child with Apraxia or their family will ever feel ashamed, confused, or alone when facing the diagnosis. Aside from my advocacy passions, I also enjoy San Francisco 49ers Football and being outdoors – on my road bike, running, or hiking.

 

How does apraxia still impact you today?
Apraxia still impacts me today as I continue to speak with what sounds like an accent; many people try to guess where I’m originally from – Australia, London, South Africa, Boston, etc. Ultimately navigating people’s guesses and having to answer the “Where are you from?” question is Apraxia’s frequent impact on my day.

Although such questioning may be irritating, it’s also an avenue to proceed in advocacy and explaining to others what Apraxia is. Apraxia has also impacted my work ethic and my interest in giving back to communities still finding their voices.

 

How do you advocate for yourself as a teen/young adult?
I advocate for myself as an adult with Apraxia by surrounding myself with peers that see past my disorder and truly value my thoughts and commentary. At times of conflict, let’s say with someone making a negative comment about my speech, I just ask them, “Excuse me, if I spoke like you would you say the same thing?” I’ve noticed phrasing that question calmly and even politely saying ‘excuse me,’ it always catches them off-guard and the situation quickly halts.

 

What would you tell your younger self about having apraxia?
I’d tell my younger self that 1) You do not need fixing, and 2) You’re allowed to still dream. In having Apraxia, the self-esteem associated with not being able to talk like your peers is challenging and overwhelming. Reminding those with Apraxia and even my younger self that we don’t need to be fixed, but we just need to practice our speech, would go a long way.

Also, I’d tell myself that I’m allowed to have the same dreams as my peers. As a young girl I never dreamt of getting married or even having a date to prom because I felt those dreams belonged to others that had it all – or at least could talk correctly. Reminding my younger self that I am allowed to have those dreams and that I would find myself among peers that valued my commentary – even with a speech disorder – would be reassuring.

 

What is something you wish people understood about living with apraxia?
That I’m still just like everyone else. We all have our own puzzle pieces that make up our whole identity, perhaps some pieces we’re proud of and others we aren’t. My Apraxia is just one little piece of my entire identity – it’s not capable of outshining my love of the 49ers, my identity as a Dog Mom, or even my talent of memorizing every Disney Movie song. Apraxia simply co-exists with all my other unique qualities.

About Myself:
My name is Alyson Taylor; I am 28 years old and work full time as a Paralegal with a cybersecurity company called Venafi. I am currently attending Penn State University for my Master’s in Business Administration. I blog and share my Apraxia journey on my Facebook page, Apraxia Aly Girl with a Funny Accent, but life gets busy with work, school, and being a Dog Mom.

Being diagnosed with Apraxia in the nineties (when little was known about the disorder), as an adult I am passionate about Apraxia advocacy. I serve on the Board of Directors with Apraxia Kids motivated by my childhood dream that no child with Apraxia or their family will ever feel ashamed, confused, or alone when facing the diagnosis. Aside from my advocacy passions, I also enjoy San Francisco 49ers Football and being outdoors – on my road bike, running, or hiking.

 

How does apraxia still impact you today?
Apraxia still impacts me today as I continue to speak with what sounds like an accent; many people try to guess where I’m originally from – Australia, London, South Africa, Boston, etc. Ultimately navigating people’s guesses and having to answer the “Where are you from?” question is Apraxia’s frequent impact on my day.

Although such questioning may be irritating, it’s also an avenue to proceed in advocacy and explaining to others what Apraxia is. Apraxia has also impacted my work ethic and my interest in giving back to communities still finding their voices.

 

How do you advocate for yourself as a teen/young adult?
I advocate for myself as an adult with Apraxia by surrounding myself with peers that see past my disorder and truly value my thoughts and commentary. At times of conflict, let’s say with someone making a negative comment about my speech, I just ask them, “Excuse me, if I spoke like you would you say the same thing?” I’ve noticed phrasing that question calmly and even politely saying ‘excuse me,’ it always catches them off-guard and the situation quickly halts.

 

What would you tell your younger self about having apraxia?
I’d tell my younger self that 1) You do not need fixing, and 2) You’re allowed to still dream. In having Apraxia, the self-esteem associated with not being able to talk like your peers is challenging and overwhelming. Reminding those with Apraxia and even my younger self that we don’t need to be fixed, but we just need to practice our speech, would go a long way.

Also, I’d tell myself that I’m allowed to have the same dreams as my peers. As a young girl I never dreamt of getting married or even having a date to prom because I felt those dreams belonged to others that had it all – or at least could talk correctly. Reminding my younger self that I am allowed to have those dreams and that I would find myself among peers that valued my commentary – even with a speech disorder – would be reassuring.

 

What is something you wish people understood about living with apraxia?
That I’m still just like everyone else. We all have our own puzzle pieces that make up our whole identity, perhaps some pieces we’re proud of and others we aren’t. My Apraxia is just one little piece of my entire identity – it’s not capable of outshining my love of the 49ers, my identity as a Dog Mom, or even my talent of memorizing every Disney Movie song. Apraxia simply co-exists with all my other unique qualities.



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