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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 same…

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 talking about spec…

Hearing Oneself

"You're dropping off that last -R sound again, let's rewind and listen to how you're pronouncing," my Speech Therapist would say (a little too often for my liking). 
She'd proceed to rewind the audio cassette tape that held our recorded sessions and re-play it back to me. This was typically done when we were at the crossroads of my conviction that I was pronouncing something correctly, and her profession saying I wasn't. 
I've associated listening to my voice as this horrible exercise, forcing myself to admit I've done or pronounced something incorrectly.
It took years, literally, for me to tolerate hearing a recording of myself. I can actually recite back to you small moments in my life that comprised of me plugging my ears if I ever had to listen to myself speak on an audio or videotape. 
High School News Channel, I did one little segment less than a minute long-I went to the bathroom to avoid having to listen to myself. 
Spanish College Class-Our fi…

Small Actions Pave the Quest for Hope

We can't control what happens, but we can control our response.

In the midst of an Apraxia journey, comorbidities, and now the economic and emotional toll of COVID-19-finding a way to respond feels next to impossible when we're overwhelmed and emotionally drained.

We think about this 'response', and we just can't tangibly say what this response is.

Now more than ever, our response to crisis-mode is action.

It's a small action, it's setting up an alarm in the morning and knowing that you cannot hit snooze. It's getting up every day when you just really don't want to.

It's as simple as making your own schedule and sticking to it in this new normal, assuring yourself you will make breakfast and coffee at 8am every day.

On my Apraxia Journey, which has lasted the last twenty years, I learned I can't control everything.  I've had plenty of defeated moments of wondering why I have to deal with this and how on earth am I going to respond, but I…

Coronavirus Challenges for the Unique

We find ourselves working from home, suddenly being a homeschool teacher, and-for some-becoming home speech therapists or organizers of tele-therapy.

Due to Coronavirus, states and cities have tightened their regulations for face-mask wearing. In California, you can be refused service at grocery stores and any open essential business if you don't have a facial-covering. Some cities have taken it a step further, Beverly Hills and Glendale now give out $1,000 fines if you are outside of your private property without a mask on. Understandably, these regulations are in place for the safety and well-being of the public.

But the 'public' is diverse, there are kids, teenagers, and adults that are considered to have 'special needs.' These individuals are silently facing a new hurdle in this coronavirus pandemic-following mandates to ensure public safety, but personally fighting discomforts and confusion over new social norms.

Understandably, we all are adjusting to this ne…

Not Enough Credit

As advocates and supporters of those diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech, we seem to be well-versed in identifying an issue, admitting something is wrong, and finding a solution.

Those parents reading this practically do it every day. Those diagnosed also do this every day.

Even though this journey may be exhausting, emotionally trying, and draining. We see an issue, do our best to fix it, and go about our day.

Despite our tenacity, when was the last time you sincerely told yourself "Good Job?"

And I do mean a sincere, 'good job.'

There is a difference between complimenting yourself as such for your strength and tenacity, versus breathing a sigh of relief that this struggle is partly over.

I say this, because I can definitely improve on telling myself 'Good Job.'

I was checking-in for Line Dancing Lessons and I had to say my full name, "Alyson Taylor."

Despite the simple name, I absolutely get anxiety with that '-or' sound at the end of Taylor.

Blinded By The Lines: Apraxia & Dating

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"Honestly most guys wouldn't be open to dating a girl with a speech disorder, but I was open to it. You just ruined a potential[sic] good thing and probably will be miserable for the rest of your life."

I stared at this text message, in the middle of Grocery Shopping, wondering if I was in the wrong for telling a guy that I didn't want to go out with him.

We had a few text exchanges over the course of 5 days and a phone call after 'matching' on an online dating platform.

I did explain (and I deleted it before I screenshotted the image) that I didn't want to go out on a date as I felt we were looking for different things at the time. Also that the whole online dating scene was a bit overwhelming, so I was taking it down completely.

Now I wasn't expecting to read that response from him, but here I was wondering if I should cry, if I was crazy, or if I should be more productive. I chose productivity, hence I screenshotted and have this beautiful blog pos…