Welcome guest writer, Megan Jackson. Enjoy her article and learn more about her at the end of the piece.
It's Not Easy
Parenting is hard. Every single day that I look on Facebook, I’m reminded of my failings as a parent. There are articles criticizing the moms who don’t let their little ones run around the city unsupervised and yet others saying that leashes are the way to go to keep your child safe. Anything can happen to children and it’s the job of the parents to keep them safe or to prepare them. If you don’t helicopter hover over your child are you REALLY a good parent? What if they fall on the playground? But if they don’t fall and get back up without your help, are they really learning anything? Shouldn’t kids be learning how to get hurt and survive without a kiss to the knee?
Which Parenting Group Do You Find Yourself?
There are all sorts of parenting cliques and groups. I know free-range parents and helicopter parents and every other type of parent in-between. But there’s one type of parent I never thought I would be and it’s a club that no one wants to belong to, but once you’re in it-you have no choice but to stay there. And you fight. You fight for your kid and you struggle to get them what they need and hope that you’re doing it right. In this clique, there are no real rules.
I Belong With Apraxia Parents
I am the mom of a child with a disability. You see, my son has Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or CAS. I had barely heard of this before Little One was diagnosed with it. In fact, I only knew about in passing, when I was looking up what could cause speech delays. So when the diagnosis came, I had a lot of research to do.
Apraxia of Speech is where the brain, the mouth, the tongue, the jaw, and all those muscles that make speech possible, don’t communicate well. Words are harder to form. Little One is saying them correctly in his head, but that doesn’t translate to what everyone else hears, because he’s not forming the words correctly. And that is the most simplistic definition one can give. There’s all sorts of word and sound errors, inconsistent mistakes, and YEARS of therapy that go into Apraxia. And if caught early enough and with the right kind of speech therapy (for multiple years and very intensive), the prognosis is great.
What Are the Causes?
No one is quite what causes Childhood Apraxia of Speech. There are theories about strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and genetic disorders, though nothing has been proven one way or another. It’s not a brain injury or muscle weakness, it’s just everything not working together properly to make speech. Those with Apraxia tend to understand receptive language (so what others are saying to them) extremely well but find it hard to express language. Sign language is a way to allow communicate and is used as a supplement in speech therapy.
There’s multiple videos on Youtube that show therapy sessions for Apraxia. There’s also videos of people who grew up with this and they’re choosing to show where they are at now. It’s interesting to watch, because no two are the same. One has a slight slur on most of his words, while another seems to say every word properly. It becomes clear though, just how much therapy they went through to get to that point. How some people have to carefully think about each word they’re going to say and so speak slower, with a more measured tone. Others have a slur, while others think about the words and speak fast.
Little One is four and we’ve just seriously started the therapy. He’s been going to speech in school for at least a year, with a year of in-home speech therapy before that. He gets on average two speech sessions in school a week with another two at home. The recommendation was for three at home sessions a week, but I’d also love my kid to be a kid. So that’s where the hard part comes in, trying to balance the therapy your child needs along with the need for your kid to be a kid.
There are many wonderful resources for those interested in more information about Apraxia. Just searching Apraxia in Google lands an amazing number of results and has been an immense help in navigating the tricky world of this unique speech disorder.
Megan Jackson works in the hospitality industry in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and their son. When she’s not working, she likes to pretend to use her History and English degree by reading and writing. She’s currently in the process of writing some children’s books, which has so far taken her at least four years to begin to edit. She enjoys astronomy, being sarcastic, and trivia, with hopes to eventually be on Jeopardy. In the little spare time she has, Megan spends her days talking to doctors and therapists about the numerous health issues her family has, which makes her realize, she’d rather be editing those children’s books.