Apraxia Monday: Guest Post by Calie Durant, “Apraxia Mom”

By Leslie Lindsay Oh, I am so excited–and grateful–for the lovely writers who have contributed to the blog lately. You all truly hold a special place in the eyes of your children. This post is from San Francisco-based mom, Calie. Her almost-three year old son has apraxia. Here’s her story:

“They say my son has Apraxia. I didn’t even know what that was until a few weeks ago.

Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a neurogenic communication disorder affecting the motor programming system for speech production. Individuals with AOS demonstrate difficulty in speech production, specifically with sequencing and forming sounds. The individual knows exactly what they want to say, but there is a disruption in the part of the brain that sends the signal to the muscle for the specific movement.

At around 18 months, he started saying “Wow, What is That?” We thought, this kid is going to be an early talker with this full-blown sentence. But then he didn’t really start talking and then he was 2 and had maybe 10 words. I took him to Early Intervention and they said he didn’t qualify for speech therapy, so we hired a therapist for a few months and we didn’t see any progress. At 2.5, we brought him back to Early Intervention and he was accepted into their program.

Oddly, at 32 months he woke up one morning and started saying words, lots of words, and mimicking sounds. It was like a switch turned on. His pronunciation sounded odd. Many of his words missed the last letters, but we were so happy to finally hear him talking….

Please continue reading this article at Calie’s site, Hatching Colors http://hatchingcolors.com/blog/2g61skcgwm7306tjo92g0f9ahxph93

CDurantAbout Calie:

Calie Durant is an independent designer that partners with large and small businesses that have a need to outsource their graphic and web design projects.
She has over 10 years experience with interactive design projects as well as brand identity development in New York and San Francisco. Her career began at Ogilvy & Mather’s Brand Integration Group, where she worked on global clients such as Dove, Miller Brewing Company and AMEX. She then went on to Landor Associates, to develop identity programs for Medtronic and LG. In more recent years, she has worked independently on a variety of small business clients and held full-time positions at Williams Sonoma Home eCommerce and LiveBooks an interactive design agency.
Calie lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and son. She also blogs about motherhood and design at hatchingcolors.com.

[author image courtesy of Calie Durant. Above image of children from http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2013/02/best-practices-for-protecting-kids-at.html, retrieved on 1.25.14]

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Your Apraxia Story Matters–Share it!!

By Leslie Lindsay Writing and author fall 2013 005

Recently someone lovingly sent me an email with their apraxia story and I accidently deleted it.  I belive the subject line read something like, “Apraxia story for your website.”

If this was you, I am so sorry!  Can you kindly re-send?! 

Perhaps this wasn’t you, but you still have  a story to tell?  By all means, we’d love to hear. Just contact me for more information.  Here’s a brief summary of what I’m looking for:

  • Something insightful, inspirational, ah-ha moment-ish related to your family’s journey with apraxia. It can be in any form–a letter to your child, a list of goals/wishes/therapy ideas/books, a photo montage, a poem, a song, a prayer, etc. Be creative!
  • Perhaps something with a funny spin you’d like to share
  • Or, something that has to potential to help others–an idea, by reframing the situation, an activity you can do with your child (arts/crafts, whole-body movement)
  • 500-700 words (that’s about a small article in a newspaper or magazine)
  • Photo clips of you and/or your child with CAS (attach in email; I’ll download and post with your permission, of course)
  • Any links to your own blogs/websites
  • A brief author bio.  Even if you’ve never written a book–we want to know a little about you.
  • That’s it! Just email me your ideas and we’ll get it posted.  You have the power to inspire! leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com

Apraxia Monday: Growing Up With Apraxia–A Kid’s View

By Leslie and Kate Lindsay

Here’s an oldie but a goodie!  This was originally written for Kimberly Scanlon, CCC-SLP of Scanlon Speech Therapy in New Jersey and appeared on her website a year or so back.

“Hi, my name is Kate.  I am seven years old and I’m in the 2nd grade.  I love to draw and play, especially outside.  I have a passion for building and creating things.  I am an inventor.Holiday 2013 006

And I have apraxia.  That means it’s hard for me to get my thoughts out sometimes.  Big words are hard for me to say.  I need a lot of practice to talk like you do.

This is my mom.  Her name is Leslie.  I just call her “mom.”  She is also an author.  She wrote SPEAKING OF APRAXIA because she wanted to be able to help me and other kids with apraxia.  And their families.  Before she wrote this book, she was a nurse.  She really likes helping people.

When someone asks me what apraxia is, I just tell them that it’s not serious.  I know you’ll probably roll your eyes like I do sometimes.  I bet you’re worried about apraxia.  That’s okay.  My mom used to worry, too when I was younger.  But you know what?  It’s not that big of a deal.  At least not to us kids.

I used to go to speech therapy where I worked with my speech therapist, Miss Sylvia.  She made talking fun.  I love to move my body and she knows that.  So, we went to the gym at the speech clinic.  I got to go down the slide and each time I did, she would have me say “wheeee!”  After I went down the slide a few times, she had me do some speech work, like saying a tough phrase several times.  Then I got to go down the slide again.7f (1)

Sometimes I didn’t want to go to speech [therapy].  I’d get busy at home playing and mom would say, “Come on, Kate.  Time to go to speech.”  One day I asked her if speech had a drive-thru.  She laughed at that and said “No, but wouldn’t that be nice?”  The great thing about my mom is she made speech [therapy] fun.  I used to be able to pick a treat from a treat box after each time [speech session].  Sometimes, we would go to the park afterwards or she’d give me a piece of candy or something like that.

I will tell you when having apraxia (CAS) was hard.  Once, at a birthday party I didn’t know how to say ‘freeze’ when we played freeze tag.  I cried.  I wanted to play, but because that was a hard word for me, I couldn’t.  The other kids probably wouldn’t have cared that I couldn’t say ‘freeze,’ but to me—it mattered.

When I was a little younger, we went to see Santa at the mall.  I couldn’t even tell him what I wanted for Christmas.  But my little sister could.  My mom had a catalog and she showed the American Girl Doll to Santa.  Santa’s eyes got big and happy, “Oh yes!  I can do that.”  That made me feel better.

Right now, it’s hard for me to read and write.  I have a special reading teacher at school because I have a hard time focusing on the words.  I learned to read a little later than some of my classmates.  When I write, I have a hard time getting my thoughts organized to come out in the right order.  But I am getting better.

I know you are wondering if your son or daughter will be able to talk.  They will.  It just takes time.  And lots of practice.  They may not be as good at talking as you, but don’t worry.  They have lots of other really great things about them.  Just remember that.

If you your child can’t talk much, find other things to do with them.  You can draw, bake, go for a walk or bike ride.  You can have tickle fights.  You can sit at Starbucks and sip a hot cocoa like me and my mom do sometimes.  You can do Irish Step Dance (or any other kind of dance)!6c (1) (1)

I know you have more questions about apraxia.  You should read my mom’s book.  It’s a big chapter book all about apraxia.  You can get it at Barnes & Noble and also Amazon.com.  If you like it, tell others about it.

–Ta-ta for now!  Kate : )

Got a story, poem, list, letter to your child, or something else you’ve created that  you’d like to share on this blog?  Send it to me at leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com and we’ll get it up! 

Bio:  Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the author of the 2012 Reader’s Choice nominated SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012).  She is a former child/adolescent psychiatric nurse at the Mayo Clinic-Leslie Author PicRochester.  Leslie is now a full-time writer at work on her first novel, an active blogger, www.leslie4kids.wordpress.com, and frequent contributor to several speech-related websites.  She devotes her free time to her two school-age daughters, Kate and Kelly and a spoiled basset hound, Sally.  Leslie is married to Jim Lindsay and resides in the Chicago area.

The Teacher is Talking Tuesday: Book Review ~”LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY”

By Leslie Lindsay Product Details

  • I just came across this brand-new parenting book by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY: The Respect Parents Desire, The Love Children Need (Thomas Nelson, 2013)–and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful kick-start to 2014.

Sure, you’ve read plenty of book on pregnancy, sleep training, the terrible twos, and everything in between. But this book is different.  Written by one of the world’s most distinguished speakers and experts on communictions and relationships, it will transform the way parents and children of all ages relate to and understand one another.

In my fiction world, I am reading a book about the lack of communcation that occurs between a teen daughter and her mother. Typical, as it may seem in teenagerhood, this phenomenon is only growing with the advent of electronic devices–from texts, to Facebook, and dozen more electronic platforms–our ability to communcate is slowly coming to a halt.

Eggerichs speaks from the heart–and experience–as he crafted the content for LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY. Written thirty-five years after his kids were babies, this book is the result of many years of parenting and being a pastor. It’s about practical applications of the word of God.

Yet my favorite part of the whole book is what Eggerichs calls the “Family Crazy Cycle.” Think of it this way: You’re busy preparing dinner. Your child wants a snack, preferably the cookie/brownie/candybar he’s holding in his hand.  You say, “only a healthy one, dinner will be ready soon.”  Your child wails and says, “You don’t love me.” A temper-tantrum ensues, the dinner gets burned, and you are left hungry, defeated, and feeling disrespected.

Here’s how Eggerichs interprets this: your child felt unloved because you [caregiver] ultimately said no to what they were requesting.  The reaction is a tantrum.  The parent feels she did the best she knew how at the time, yet still feels disrespected with her decision. When feeling disrespected, this parent may respond to her child in a way that seems unloving (“take a time out,” etc.).  That’s the cycle.  It’s not exaclty a *bad* one, but it’s a cycle that perpetuates a lack of communication.

Packed with practical advice and personal experience, Dr. Eggerichs will enlighten parents of all ages and stages by using the Bible as a guide. The book will teach caregivers:

  • To see love and respect as basic family needs
  • How to stop the family crazy cycle of conflict
  • To parent in the six biblical ways that energize children
  • How to discipline definance and overlook childishness
  • How to be the mature one since parenting is “for adults only”
  • How to work as a team, according to the gender of each child
  • To become a loving parent in God’s eyes, regardless of a child’s response.

[from the front jacket of LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY, 2013].

But the book isn’t just for parents/caregivers to read at night once the children have gone to bed. It’s a great tool for conversation starters anytime. (Our family finds the car a great place to chat, yours may enjoy something at the dinner table, or in a family meeting atmosphere).  Why not broach the subjects of:

  • Relationships in general.  Mother and father, siblings, friends, etc.
  • What does respect look like?  What does it mean to love someone?  is it always romantic?  How is romantic and platonic love different?
  • Family conflict resolution. Meeting the needs of all family members, mediating a problem, etc.
  • The role of the church in families and parenting

Also, this book would be a wonderful addition to any church library or a ministry book club.

If you’re looking to enhance your family’s communication this year, I highly recommend Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY.

…That’s it~Class dismissed!

[book image retrieved from amazon.com on 1.14.14, author image from adventurechurch.org, retrieved on 1.14.14]

Apraxia Monday: Guest Post from Stacey Shubitz

By Leslie Lindsay

Just recently, I put a call out for submissions from parents sharing their inspiring stories of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)…and this one crossed my desk. I absolutely adore this mother’s honesty, bravery, and her one-word mantra for 2014: Promise. Stacey Shubitz

Give it a read.  You’ll fall in love, too. I promise.

“Not so long ago there was a 12 month-old girl who said just two words, “hi” and “bye.” Without warning, those two words disappeared and she said no words at all. Her parents worried she might have hearing loss so they took her to an audiologist. The hearing tests revealed chronic fluid in her ears. Her parents scheduled ear tube surgery. A month passed and the little girl’s vocabulary did not improve. The little girl’s speech therapist had a candid conversation with the child’s parents. She suggested they see a speech-language pathologist who specialized in Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or CAS. The parents made an appointment and tried to remain hopeful while they waited. [image source courtesy of Stacey Shubitz]

Time passed and the little girl was diagnosed with CAS. While it wasn’t a diagnosis the parents hoped for, they felt a strange sense of relief once there was a name for what their daughter had.

In the months that followed, a team of therapists worked together to put a plan in place to help the little girl communicate. The little girl did speech therapy three times a week and occupational and music therapies once a week. Initially progress was slow, but the little girl began to say words. Her parents used sign language to help her sequence words so she could build simple phrases and short sentences. Over time, the little girl’s parents began to decode more of her language, which helped her to be understood at home.

* * * * *

As much as I’d like to say the above story is about someone else’s life, it’s not. Research CAS and you’ll learn it’s a motor speech disorder, not a life-threatening disease. I am thankful my daughter is otherwise healthy. However, speech therapy sessions can be grueling. It’s difficult to go from mommy to speech therapist and back to mommy again multiple times a day. But, this is life as I know it right now, and that is okay because my daughter is responding to therapy and is making progress. promise

This-coming year, the One Little Word that will guide me is PROMISE. Here’s why:

I promise to persist. There are no “days off” when a child has CAS.

I promise to make home-practice as play-based as possible.

I promise to remember I’m not just a mommy, but a wife, daughter, and friend. Therefore, I will nurture those relationships as well.

I promise to have fun even when the to-do list is long.

I promise to be optimistic if there are setbacks.

I promise to take care of my own needs. If I don’t take care of myself, then I cannot take care of my daughter.

I promise to make time for other endeavors. I will continue to write and consult. I will try to do something artistic since it’s been too long since I’ve done something creative. (con’t)

***Please continue reading this post from Stacey Shubitz at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/promise2014/***

Promise image created with Visual Thesaurus, http://www.visualthesaurus.com/app/view

Have a story, insight, poem, or other insightful/inspirational piece on CAS  you’d like to share?  Give me a shout at leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com

Bio: Stacey Shubitz is a certified literacy specialist who consults with public
school districts and independent schools to support teachers with balanced
literacy instruction.  She is a former classroom teacher who taught fifth grade
at P.S. 171 in East Harlem, NY and fourth grade at The Learning Community in
Central Falls, RI.  Additionally, Stacey has worked as an adjunct professor at
Penn State – Harrisburg.  Stacey is the co-author of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of
Reflective Practice
(Stenhouse, 2010).  She has a M.A. in Literacy
Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a M.S.Ed. in
Childhood Education from Hunter College of the City of New York.  A Kappa Delta
Pi Teacher of Honor, Stacey presents at local, state, and national conferences
and has published articles published in Instructor Magazine.  She is also
on the editorial review board for The Language and Literacy
Spectrum
, the New York State Reading Association’s Journal. Stacey
resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.  She also blogs about
literacy and parenting at Raising a Literate
Human
and Tweets @raisealithuman.

Above article excerpt originally published 1.8.14 by Stacey Shubitz.  http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/promise2014/. Reprinted with permission from author.

The Year Ahead: 2014, A call for submissions!

By Leslie Lindsay

2014 kids

Welcome to 2014!!  As I kid I never, believed my parents when they told me, “Each year goes by faster and faster the older you get.” Well, now that I am smack in the middle of my life, I think I can honestly say they were right.

Did 2014 fly by for you, too? 

Perhaps not if you are struggling with a child recently diagnosed with CAS.  I’m nodding my head in that side to side, up and down kind of way that conveys, “I know…I get it…the days are long, the confusion is there, but it will get better.” Know that you are not alone. Resources abound. Whether it’s your neighbor a few doors down whose child as had speech-language issues, an in-person support group, your child’s SLP, a website, chat room, this blog, or a book…they’re available when you are.

And if you’ve made it through the storm, then we’d love to hear from  you!  We’re currently looking for contributors to the blog–uplifting stories of CAS, a favorite moment you shared with your child(ren) with CAS, an ah-ha parenting moment, a cry (prayer) for help that was answered, your experiences with a national apraxia conference, just about anything will do.  One thing I’ve found on our apraxia journey is hope and humor is what keeps doubt and darkness away.

If you’ve got something you want to share, but all means, give me a shout at leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com.  We’ll whip up some ideas and and get you a spot on “Apraxia Monday” in no time.  It’s fun and relatively painless, I promise.

Speaking of which, if all goes well we will have “Apraxia Mom,” Stacey with us Monday (1.13.14)  sharing her story of her little girl’s battle with CAS.

In the meantime, you’ll be happy to know that I have a few other things up my sleeve:

  • Another excellent book give-a-way package from Pam Marshalla, CCC-SLP
  • Mom tips on apraxia
  • Fun activities to do at home to supplement your therapy sessions
  • How to talk to (preschool) teachers about your child’s speech (or, lackthereof)
  • And looking at our companion posts to “Apraxia Monday,” we’ll have some decorating, party ideas, crafty gifting, as well as book reviews all on “The Teacher is Talking” published Tuesdays right here on www.speakingofapraxia. In fact, the next one will be LOVE & RESPECT IN THE FAMILY by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, slated for Tuesday, January 14th.
  • If you love books and writing, then swing over to my other site, www.leslielindsay.com where I interview authors, review books, share writing tips, and some of my fiction-in-progress Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Never a dull moment! Again, if you’ve got a story idea–even if it’s not totally fleshed out–give me shout.

[above image source: http://theschoolcounselorkind.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/2014-or-bust/. Retrieved 1.09.14, Marshalla book image from Amazon.com]