Young Adults with Apraxia – Mark Lippert

About Me
My name is Mark Lippert and I am currently 22 years old and live in Minnesota, USA, at home with my parents. I also attend community college for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) associate degree in Cybersecurity, Virtualization, and Forensics. I’m like a typical college student, spending too much time on the computer and like to stay up late doing my assignments.

 

How does apraxia still impact you today?
My apraxia of speech still affects me to this day and is going to for the rest of my life. I have gotten used to my speech, and it doesn’t bother me that much. When it somewhat interferes with my daily life, it is in an environment with a lot of background noise, like loud music in restaurants when trying to order my meal. The waitstaff might have a harder time understanding me; if that happens, I repeat my order and also point to the item I want on the menu. That’s probably where Apraxia affects me the most in my typical everyday life. Other than that, it’s saying words that are not in my typical vocabulary. I sometimes struggle with mispronouncing words I usually do not say that often. When that happens, I also laugh. When having those typical Apraxia moments, I see no point in getting mad at myself anymore since I know that I’m never going to have perfect speech, nor does anyone else have perfect speech.

 

What would you tell your past self?
If I could go back in time and say something to my past self, I would say that there will be an endpoint in your speech therapy journey. Once you do something over and over again continuously for years at a time, it could get ingrained in yourself if you like it or not.

Apraxia of speech is hard to live with, and you are not alone. Also, you might be living with other disabilities, as well. I will first admit it’s hard to be scared of teachers calling on you if you can’t get out what you are trying to say. You feel horrible about yourself and think what’s wrong with yourself. You will probably feel bad for the rest of the day. Because in your mind, the words you were trying to say come out clear as day. When you needed it, you couldn’t get the words out.

When I was younger, my mom would tell me, “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” but I will reverse the method of thinking. Everybody has a tunnel with lights. People with Apraxia of Speech have lights filled up in their tunnel with their unique skills.

The first light is Self-Motivation because you have been working hard and improving your speech.

The second light is Self-Discipline because you have been going (or have gone to) speech therapy for years (You and I were pretty much forced to go), but you still went and worked hard at your speech and kept going to speech therapy even though it was challenging. Most importantly, you didn’t or couldn’t quit going to speech therapy.

The third light is Self-Advocacy. You might not know it yet, but you know yourself the best out of anyone else and how to succeed in new environments. Everybody has special skills. That makes you as special as anyone else in my book.

That makes us even more special because we are even hungrier to succeed with anything else we want to do going forward in our lives! Neurotypical people would love to have those skills you have been forced to develop at a young age.

 

For the parents with kids that have Apraxia of Speech
As your child gets older, and when there might be a hint that your child might move on from speech therapy in the near future, sit down with your child about what the endpoint of speech therapy looks like for them. There are two reasons why I’m bringing it up.

The first one is that it’s a significant accomplishment for your child and your whole family because you all have been on the speech therapy journey together for years at this point. You, as parents, have sat in waiting rooms filling out endless amounts of paperwork over the years. Your child has been forced to dedicate some part of their childhood going to speech therapy, as well as other types of therapy maybe. Together, you and your child deserve an equal amount of credit in the speech therapy journey. After so many years of continuously going to speech therapy appointments, it’s so ingrained in us. When they go to their last speech therapy session one day, then the next day, it’s all over. That’s it.

The second reason is that my parents and I never really talked about the endpoint of speech therapy for me because I didn’t really mind going to speech therapy as I got older. (I didn’t go to speech therapy as I got older during the school year, only during the summertime.) As I said before, I didn’t mind going to speech therapy. Since my mom got really involved with Apraxia Kids when they were founded in the year 2000 (known as CASANA at the time), in the back of my head I knew that other kids were going to speech therapy and dealing with the same stuff I was going through. So those two things have probably majorly skewed the results of it.

Your child might be more proactive in wanting to stop going to speech therapy. Still, I suggest that you sit down with your child and have a totally honest conversation talking about the steps for them to stop attending speech therapy.

 

Attending IEP Meetings
I would recommend bringing your kids to their IEP meeting as early as possible for them. I didn’t attend one of my IEP meetings in high school. I made a significant mistake by not attending the IEP meeting. In the IEP meeting I missed, there was a major change for me in high school, which was not in my best long-term interest (or short-term interest, either). They thought they were helping me, but they were massively holding me back. With that being said, I would heavily recommend checking in with your child 2 to 4 weeks into their school year or semester. Talk to them about how their classes are going for them. Maybe ask them if they find their new classes too easy or too hard for them.

 

School Tips
For resources in school, mainly in college, I have been using Grammarly to help fix my spelling and grammar mistakes I might have in my writing. And I also can get Ebook versions of my college textbooks. Also, in college I can get a note taker for my classes.

 

What I want people to know about apraxia
We have drive. We might not be able to tell you about our drive or even show you that we even have a drive for things. But we know how to be successful in anything we want to do because we had to work so hard to learn how to talk from square one. So, once we find our passions in life, we already know how to develop a drive to become successful in anything we want to do with our lives.

About Me
My name is Mark Lippert and I am currently 22 years old and live in Minnesota, USA, at home with my parents. I also attend community college for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) associate degree in Cybersecurity, Virtualization, and Forensics. I’m like a typical college student, spending too much time on the computer and like to stay up late doing my assignments.

 

How does apraxia still impact you today?
My apraxia of speech still affects me to this day and is going to for the rest of my life. I have gotten used to my speech, and it doesn’t bother me that much. When it somewhat interferes with my daily life, it is in an environment with a lot of background noise, like loud music in restaurants when trying to order my meal. The waitstaff might have a harder time understanding me; if that happens, I repeat my order and also point to the item I want on the menu. That’s probably where Apraxia affects me the most in my typical everyday life. Other than that, it’s saying words that are not in my typical vocabulary. I sometimes struggle with mispronouncing words I usually do not say that often. When that happens, I also laugh. When having those typical Apraxia moments, I see no point in getting mad at myself anymore since I know that I’m never going to have perfect speech, nor does anyone else have perfect speech.

 

What would you tell your past self?
If I could go back in time and say something to my past self, I would say that there will be an endpoint in your speech therapy journey. Once you do something over and over again continuously for years at a time, it could get ingrained in yourself if you like it or not.

Apraxia of speech is hard to live with, and you are not alone. Also, you might be living with other disabilities, as well. I will first admit it’s hard to be scared of teachers calling on you if you can’t get out what you are trying to say. You feel horrible about yourself and think what’s wrong with yourself. You will probably feel bad for the rest of the day. Because in your mind, the words you were trying to say come out clear as day. When you needed it, you couldn’t get the words out.

When I was younger, my mom would tell me, “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” but I will reverse the method of thinking. Everybody has a tunnel with lights. People with Apraxia of Speech have lights filled up in their tunnel with their unique skills.

The first light is Self-Motivation because you have been working hard and improving your speech.

The second light is Self-Discipline because you have been going (or have gone to) speech therapy for years (You and I were pretty much forced to go), but you still went and worked hard at your speech and kept going to speech therapy even though it was challenging. Most importantly, you didn’t or couldn’t quit going to speech therapy.

The third light is Self-Advocacy. You might not know it yet, but you know yourself the best out of anyone else and how to succeed in new environments. Everybody has special skills. That makes you as special as anyone else in my book.

That makes us even more special because we are even hungrier to succeed with anything else we want to do going forward in our lives! Neurotypical people would love to have those skills you have been forced to develop at a young age.

 

For the parents with kids that have Apraxia of Speech
As your child gets older, and when there might be a hint that your child might move on from speech therapy in the near future, sit down with your child about what the endpoint of speech therapy looks like for them. There are two reasons why I’m bringing it up.

The first one is that it’s a significant accomplishment for your child and your whole family because you all have been on the speech therapy journey together for years at this point. You, as parents, have sat in waiting rooms filling out endless amounts of paperwork over the years. Your child has been forced to dedicate some part of their childhood going to speech therapy, as well as other types of therapy maybe. Together, you and your child deserve an equal amount of credit in the speech therapy journey. After so many years of continuously going to speech therapy appointments, it’s so ingrained in us. When they go to their last speech therapy session one day, then the next day, it’s all over. That’s it.

The second reason is that my parents and I never really talked about the endpoint of speech therapy for me because I didn’t really mind going to speech therapy as I got older. (I didn’t go to speech therapy as I got older during the school year, only during the summertime.) As I said before, I didn’t mind going to speech therapy. Since my mom got really involved with Apraxia Kids when they were founded in the year 2000 (known as CASANA at the time), in the back of my head I knew that other kids were going to speech therapy and dealing with the same stuff I was going through. So those two things have probably majorly skewed the results of it.

Your child might be more proactive in wanting to stop going to speech therapy. Still, I suggest that you sit down with your child and have a totally honest conversation talking about the steps for them to stop attending speech therapy.

 

Attending IEP Meetings
I would recommend bringing your kids to their IEP meeting as early as possible for them. I didn’t attend one of my IEP meetings in high school. I made a significant mistake by not attending the IEP meeting. In the IEP meeting I missed, there was a major change for me in high school, which was not in my best long-term interest (or short-term interest, either). They thought they were helping me, but they were massively holding me back. With that being said, I would heavily recommend checking in with your child 2 to 4 weeks into their school year or semester. Talk to them about how their classes are going for them. Maybe ask them if they find their new classes too easy or too hard for them.

 

School Tips
For resources in school, mainly in college, I have been using Grammarly to help fix my spelling and grammar mistakes I might have in my writing. And I also can get Ebook versions of my college textbooks. Also, in college I can get a note taker for my classes.

 

What I want people to know about apraxia
We have drive. We might not be able to tell you about our drive or even show you that we even have a drive for things. But we know how to be successful in anything we want to do because we had to work so hard to learn how to talk from square one. So, once we find our passions in life, we already know how to develop a drive to become successful in anything we want to do with our lives.



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