Seeing Past A Disorder

Looking back on my most influential supporters and connections during my Apraxia Journey; teachers, friends, extended family members, etc.  Those most important to me all had something in common.  They were able to see me for the individual I wanted and aspired to be; not for the disorder that I had.  Some of my best friends, even from elementary school, are still my best friends today. Why? The way they look and treated me as a non-verbal child is the same way they treat me now as an overly-opinionated adult.  Some of my favorite teachers from second grade, middle school, to high school are forever my favorite teachers because these educators continued to communicate with me in the same fashion they communicated to my 'typical' peers.  By treating me the same and treating me as equals to those, technically, more 'intelligent' than me simply made me feel more comfortable in pursuing my dreams and goals.  I didn't feel like a lesser student or a lesser person because

Self-Esteem & Apraxia

Speech Therapy is the most effective way of treating Apraxia of Speech. Speech Therapy teaches a child how to properly speak and move the necessary muscles to properly communicate.  However, Speech Therapy does not teach the art of communicating, the finesse of how to speak confidently, or how to be sociable. Once speech therapy is completed, it simply signifies that a person can articulate properly. Perhaps their lisp or 'accent' has been substantially remedied to the extent it's not even noticeable. Speech therapy is no easy feat. It is hard, expensive, and grueling especially on top of other day-to-day tasks.  Being able to speak, because of Speech Therapy,  establishes confidence, self-esteem, and the capability of presenting oneself.  But these are simply roots for future, unlimited growth.  As many of you know, I never graduated from Speech Therapy. I decided to withdraw at the young age of 16 and never looked back.  At 27 years old, I still have a perpetual 'acce

Middle School, Puberty, and Apraxia? You've Got to Be Kidding

Ah, the trials and tribulations of the pre-teen years. Being anywhere near the age of 11 to 13 years old is already challenging enough. Puberty, friendships, the awkward questions between asking your crush if they like you and "Mom, how do I shave?"- it's all overwhelming.  Throw in Apraxia and on top of these frequent middle school obstacles, those diagnosed seem to face another onslaught of challenges. My top two internal struggles at the ripe age of 12 (at least from what I found in my plethora of diary entries) were:  1.  "People say I talk funny but I have to do this presentation in class. How do I do it without being made fun of..." or  2. "My crush said I looked cute but they wouldn't date anyone who talks like me, what does that mean?" Oh, if only I could go back and talk to Middle School Aly. Or actually, if I could go back and give some people a piece of my mind... Point is, this delicate balance between Apraxia-challenges and puberty cha

Self Image with Apraxia

The concept of one's self-image.  A guiding point for adult self-help books and even a psychological 'phenomenon.' Is it at all possible that how we introspectively view ourselves translates into our outward appearance?  When a child says, "I'm not good at Math." By failing a test in mathematics, it merely solidifies their self-image of being bad at math.  Personally, playing Volleyball, if I don't say aloud, "I can serve this ball." I will always miss the serve. I constantly envision missing my serve prior to saying my self-assuring phrase. If I believe I'll miss it, then I usually miss it. If I believe I'll make it, or even tell myself I can make the serve, I'll usually make it.  After reading, a bit too much during quarantine, I started to wonder how one's self-image as a child with apraxia is formed. Do children with Apraxia gain a stronger sense of their self-image at a younger age, than those that do not have Apraxia?  Do ch

Apraxia & Bullying

I had my fair share of childhood bullying, being non-verbal and speaking with a 'funny accent' (plus the braces and overall scrawniness) made me a great target.  It's disappointing still today when bullying is excused as 'just kids being kids' or even a 'rite of passage.' Yet talk to any senior citizen and they still vividly recall their bully's name and the trauma inflicted.  Bullying also strikes a special nerve when you witness your child diagnosed with Apraxia facing it. They're already struggling to talk and now some punk is belittling them? Seriously?  So what do you do if you know it's happening, or suspect it, or even worse-you witness it? Call the police, better yet let's call Liam Neeson to teach them a lesson. Well, one could dream.  After my varying experiences with numerous bullies; here are my takeaways: 1. Ownership of Your Reaction is Empowering:  My parents always instilled in me that bullies were only mean because they'r

Dear Apraxia

 Dear Apraxia,  I am now 26 years old and still explain to people why I speak the way I do.  Sometimes I wonder what's more annoying: not being able to talk to people or defend the way I speak. All in all, I know my speech is what makes me, well, me. It's my mechanism to express anger, passion, and communicate my needs.  Because of you, Apraxia, my memories and childhood videos seem to contradict. I have early memories of talking to my cousins, camping by a lake, and playing on the river-even jumping off of a boat. I remember talking to those around me, saying, "Did you see what I just did?!" Watching early childhood videos today-all that I hear is complete babbling. I don't even know what I'm saying, I don't understand 5 year old me.  It's strange and alarming.  After 13+ years in speech therapy, I thought I overcame your greatest of hurdles. Because of you, I attended speech therapy two to three times a week, up to an hour per session, repeating the

Apraxia Dating: Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Netflix released an original show called, Love on the Spectrum.  It's only about 5 episodes long, following various twenty year olds exploring the wonderful and tumultuous world of dating, love, and romance. These young adults also happen to have Autism.  Most are varying in severity and shows itself in different ways-sometimes with over excitement and seeking sensory overload, versus others are a bit more reserved.  Either way, this show demonstrated what I've been a firm believer in: Being different doesn't negate the fact we all have human needs and desires, finding love and romance is one of them.  In watching this show, there were a few moments that I could actually relate to just with my Apraxia diagnosis:  1. "You don't look like you have Autism."      Flashback to the bad Tinder date that said, "You don't look like you have a speech disorder. You also don't look deaf either, wait can you hear me now?"       People are uncomfortable ta