Apraxia Monday: Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Social Security Disability Benefits

By Leslie Lindsay

I’m pleased to be able to share this article penned by Molly Clarke, Social Media Coordinator for Social Security Disability Help.  I think you will find the article very informative and timely–as we begin planning for our children to head back to school–and possibly resume speech services (if you took a break over the summer months). 

From Molly:

Communication disorders affect children in a variety of ways—ranging in severity, duration, and in the limitations that they cause. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is no different.  CAS is a motor speech disorder that makes it very difficult to say different sounds, words, and syllables. This can be extremely frustrating for a child because, although they know what they want to say, their brain cannot coordinate the muscle movements necessary to speak correctly. Some children who have CAS experience severe limitations, while other children with CAS have no trouble performing day to day activities.

As the parent of a child with CAS, you may also encounter certain obstacles.  Helping your child overcome CAS often becomes a parent’s first priority. This may include purchasing necessary assistive technology or taking part in therapy sessions—neither of which are always covered by insurance. If your child has CAS and finds it difficult to function on a level similar to his or her peers, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits on his or her behalf. Disability benefits will help you provide for your child and help them on their journey toward improving their speech.

Disability Benefit Programs: Although the SSD application process is notoriously lengthy, many parents find disability payments necessary to support their child.  To eliminate confusion and expedite the process, parents should enter the application process as prepared as possible. The following information will help you determine whether or not your child is a good fit for SSD benefits and provide you with the information needed to begin the process.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While both programs are designed to provide qualified individuals with disability benefits, they’re very different and only offer benefits to those who meet their stringent eligibility criteria.application form

Eligibility for SSDI is dependent upon “work credits”—a measure designed by the SSA to evaluate a person’s work history and the amount of taxes they’ve paid into the system. Children do not typically qualify for SSDI on their own record because they have yet to earn an income and pay taxes.

SSI is typically the best option for children. SSI is a needs-based benefit program that provides financial assistance to disabled or elderly individuals. The amount of income a person earns will determine whether or not they qualify and how much their monthly payments will be. Children applying for SSI will be subject to something called parental deeming. Deeming is the process of allocating a portion of a parent’s resources to a child. 

To learn how deeming works visit the following page:


For more specific details about SSI technical eligibility requirements, visit the following page:


Meeting or Matching Listings: In order for a child to qualify for SSI on their own record, they must meet very specific medical criteria. These criteria can be found in the SSA’s manual of disabling conditions known as the blue book.  Although there is no blue book listing for CAS, this does not mean that your child will not qualify. Instead of meeting a specific listing, your child will have to match the symptoms listed under a separate but similar condition.

Most parents, doctors, and SLPs find that children with CAS closely match blue book listing 111.09- Communication impairment associated with documented neurological disorder. To meet or match this specific listing, your child must demonstrate the following:

  • A deficit that significantly affects the content and clarity of his or her speech; or
  • A comprehension deficit that causes ineffective communication for his or her age group; or
  • A hearing impairment.

It is extremely important that you work with your child’s doctors and therapists to collect medical records and evidence to support these criteria.

Initiating the Application Process: In addition to supporting medical documentation, you should also be prepared with proof of age, citizenship, income, and resources. Once you have collected these documents, you will be ready to begin the application process.

The initial application for SSI is comprised of two forms—the Child Disability Report and the Application for Supplemental Security Income—and an interview. Although the Child Disability Report can be completed online, many parents prefer to fill out both forms at the time of their scheduled interview. To schedule your child’s interview, call the SSA’s main phone line (1-800-772-1213).

Once you have completed the initial application, it may be several months before you receive a decision. Even then, your child’s claim may be denied. If this happens, it is important to remain patient and persistent in your efforts.  To appeal this decision, you must put your request in writing within 60 days of receiving your denial letter.

While receiving a denial can be discouraging and overwhelming, you should not give up. Once you are awarded benefits, you will be able to focus on helping your child improve his or her speech rather than focusing on the money needed to do so.

Bio: Molly Clarke is the Social Media Coordinator for Social Security Disability Help and contributes regularly to the Social Security Disability Help Blog. You can contact her at mac@ssd-help.org.

[children image retrieved from priyanandana.wordpress.com.  Molly Clarke headshot and application used with permission from M.Clarke]

Apraxia Monday: Winner of Handmade Love Stories CAS necklace

By Leslie Lindsay

After nearly 50 entries, a name was selected this evening by my daughter, 8 year old Kate Lindsay–with a little help from younger sister, Kelly. 

The lucky winner is…drum roll please…APRIL F. of Indiana.  Apraxia Necklace Drawing 003

Here is her “handmade love story” of daughter, Haylea:

“My daughter, Haylea, it truly my miracle child after recurrent pregnancy losses. She was diagnosed with Apraxia at 2.5 and will be 4 next month. She has made amazing progress but we still have so much work to do. She amazes me every day with things I had no idea she knew. She is the brightest, sweetest little girl I know. I’m so proud of her and how hard she works. I would love to wear something to show off that pride.”  ~A.F., Mom in Indiana

Thanks to all of you for submitting your heartfelt apraxia journeys.  They literally brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.  Y’all are truly the best! 

Our sincere thanks to Melissa of Handmade Love Stories for making this give-a-way possible.  Thanks for being part of our apraxia journey. 

If you like this contest, consider subscribing, liking and sharing!  “Apraxia Monday” posts every week, and often features interviews with SLPs, parents, give-a-ways, and more.  If you or your family would like to be featured, give me a holler at leslielindsay(at)hotmail.com

Best wishes!  Apraxia Necklace Drawing 002

[Comments for this post are now closed.  This was not a writing contest.  Names were drawn at random based on comments from the original post, dated 7.08.12]

Apraxia Monday: Interview & Give-a-Way with Handmade Love Stories

By Leslie Lindsay Every Child Deserves A Voice Necklace 

Being a big crafter myself, I am thrilled to welcome Melissa of Handmade Love Stories to Apraxia Monday.  Melissa is a mother and artisan who has created beautiful apraxia jewelry and accessories as a way to advocate and support our small talkers.  They’re great for you, a friend, your child’s SLP, even grandma.  It’s a fun—and attractive way to support and advocate for your small talker.   

                                                                                 (image retrieved from Melissa’s website 7.6.13)

And…drum roll, please…Melissa has graciously offered a complimentary customized piece of jewelry for a lucky reader.  Scroll to bottom to learn more.  But, let’s start by getting to know her first. 

Speaking of Apraxia: Melissa, can you tell us a bit about your personal life?  Where do you spend most of your time.  Is jewelry making a profession of yours  or more of a hobby?  If a hobby, can you tell us more about what you do for a living?  Do you have a family?  

Melissa: “Sure!  I live in Texas and have 2 wonderful boys. I stay at home with my children and feel very honored to be able to do so! I spent years in the sales world and this has been a welcomed break from the normal 9 to 5. Now I just don’t get off of work…ever, young boys keep this mother very busy.”

 Speaking of Apraxia: Will you share a bit about how you got into jewelry-making in general?  Has this been a lifelong passion of yours? 

Melissa: “I started stamping jewelry when I was pregnant with my second child, I was euphoric in creating something beautiful and unique- in more ways than one! I absolutely enjoyed my new found hobby and had really sparked a local interest as a business venture. That’s where my story started, I’m still finding something new and exciting around every corner.”

Speaking of Apraxia:  I get the sense that you really take to heart the stories and messages you put into your pieces.  Can you tell us a little about your creative process?

Melissa: Absolutely! Every piece is unique and there isn’t two exactly the same. That was the drawing force to hand stamped jewelry for me. I named the business Handmade Love Stories because I quickly learned that every story from my customers was exactly that…a [story of] love. I’ve been honored to make anniversary presents, gifts for expectant mothers, and so many other joyous occasions. I never realized, however, that my heart would be broken several times while I made memorial pieces for parents who had lost their children or for women fighting terminal ovarian/breast cancer. Every single story is different, and everyone is fighting their own battles. I am very humbled to be able to create something that means so much to that one special person

Autism Awareness- I Love A Child With Autism necklace (image retrieved from Melissa’s website)

Speaking of Apraxia:   I see on your ETSY site that you jewelry for other disorders like AD/HD.  How did you get invested in special needs?

Melissa: This all hits very close to home. My brother was diagnosed with ADD as a child and his whole journey through school was a struggle. It was always so hard for him, and it’s difficult to watch anyone you love struggle. My oldest son has ADHD, and is the most amazing blessing that I could have asked for. I have an amazing cousin in California who is a special needs teacher and an inspiration to everyone who meets her. More than anything, I want to help give a voice for the children that can’t speak up for themselves and awareness for the parents that were blessed to be their children’s heroes.  A.D.H.D Awareness- I Love A Child With A.D.H.D necklace

Speaking of Apraxia:  Can you tell us how to get a hold of you if we’d like to request a custom piece of jewelry? 

Sure!  You can find me on facebook at: www.facebook.com/handmadelovestories

Follow me on Instagram @handmadelovestories

Etsy Shop- http://www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeLoveStories

Email- handmadelovestories@gmail.com

I also take custom orders so please let me know if there is anything specific you have in mind that I can make for you.! 

Speaking of Apraxia: Thank you, thank you, thank you to Melissa for joining us!!  Wonderfully touching.  Thank you for taking our stories to heart. 

And now for the fun part! Melissa has generously offered a complimentary piece of apraxia jewelry for a lucky reader

Here’s what you have to do:  make a comment on this blog about *your* handmade love story…winners will be drawn at random on July 15th  by 5pm CST.  Check your email/junk mail to learn if you are a winner.

 [The fine print: Contest open only to US residents.  Must comment directly on the blog to be considered.  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest posts will be denied.  You will be notified by email only if your name was selected. Quick response is required.  If you don’t respond to your winning email within 12 hours, another name will be drawn.]


Apraxia Monday: Does Apraxia Take a Vacation?

By Leslie Lindsay

With summer in full swing, you may be wondering if it’s time to take a vaction from apraxia and speech therapy.  It’s an appropriate question, and one that has a very solid answer–no.  ?????????????????????????????

Whoa–wait a minute–back the vacay train up!  “Really?  I should continue to schlepp my child to and from speech therapy even in the summer when the days are long and lazy and the pool beckons my name?” 

Well, yes.  And here’s why:  Kids with CAS need consistent (read: regular), intense and frequent speech-language therapy to effectively move beyond their speech difficulties.  When your whole world turns upside down due to new family schedules over the summer, you can always rely on your SLP to keep some consistency. 

But, we’re so busy!” you whine (and maybe your child does, too).

If that’s the case, cut back on your summer therapy sessions, but still try to aim for 3-4 a month.  If that gets to be too much, take apraxia on vacation with you.

Just this past week, our family traveled to the west…we’re talking Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas…but the words and the practice didn’t stop, even for 8year old Kate who is considered “resolving” with her apraxia.  Here are some ideas for you to consider when you take apraxia on the road. 2a (1)

  • Create a video travel journal.  Got a smart phone?  Does it have video capabilities?  Record  your child daily for a full minute at all of your sightseeing destinations.  I really wished I had done this more regularly when we were away, alas…time gets away.  Ask your child to state where they are: “The Grand Canyon!,”  their age, their first impressions, etc.  Who cares if they don’t say it correctly.  Most kids love the idea of being “on TV.” 
  • Ask your child to say new words while you are away.  We were in the Mojave Desert during our trip…so I asked the girls over and over, “What’s the name of our desert?”  They couldn’t remember it the first few times, but I kept hounding them.  Finally, they could say it. 
  • Complete those kid-placements from restaurants.  Kate sat and happily decoded words on hers while we dined at el Tovar Lodge3e at Grand Canyon Village–Mather’s Point.  The answer:  “Preserve and protect our natural resources.”  The other one:  “Look around you for archeological artifacts.”  Hard words to say?  You bet!  Could Kate accurately articulate “archeological artifacts?”  Nope.  But we practiced–a lot!  [If your child is too young to do the things on the placemats like Kate did, modify.  Can he say the sound of the charcter, identify colors, or letters?]
  • Keep a travel journal.  If your child is interested, you can have then collect brochures, ticket stubs, postcards, and other non-expensive items to identify and remember the trip.  When you get home, paste ’em a journal or notebook.  Baby Shadow box and Travel Journal 008
  • Use the car as a practice lab.  Okay, I know there’s a time and place for this…but the car is a wonderful location to work on words/sounds/phrases your child is striuggling with.  We often would ask questions on our road trips.  “What sound does a pig say (oink, oink)?”  You ask the questions, your child responds.  “Where are we?”  (papa and nana’s house, the desert, wherever).  “What do we say when we go to bed?”  (night-night).  The key here, is to keep your child talking–and thinking.  Don’t over do it, though.  Keep this “game” up as long as you think your child(ren) will tolerate it.

Most of all–have fun with speech–and your vaction!!