Apraxia: Where Small Decisions, Have Life-Long Impact

I always pride myself on the fact that I never let Apraxia define me. I never used it as an excuse and I held myself to the same standard as everyone else.

High School Spanish class? I can't say my R's, that's alright. I'm going to roll my R's the best way I can.

I want to pride myself on the fact that "I did it all by myself."

But, I simply can't.

After going through the old paperwork, school reports, and talking to my parents about it all; my parents' decisions early in my life set me on a path.

A hard path, a needed path, but a successful path.

When we moved to Burbank and joined the Burbank Unified School District from LA Unified, I had to re-do all of those placement tests, IEP's, speech and psychologist meetings.

The whole nine yards again just to say I had a speech issue (they couldn't say 'Apraxia,' since it didn't really exist) and I was partially autistic.

Later we'll find out I was apraxic and not autistic, but hey this was the nineties.

My parents had a Catch-22: put me in the Burbank schools where I would attend speech therapy, special-ed classes in subjects where needed, and then transfer into general ed classes.

Or attend Horace Mann, a school exclusively dedicated to children with special needs, such as, severe autism, cerebral palsy-overall severe cases.

The way my dad put it, they had to decide if I should attend an exclusive-special needs school, where I'd probably fit in/be one of the smarter students. Or be the student falling behind all other "normal" classmates at Burbank Unified Schools.

They choose the latter.

My parents knew I could retain all the information, but I just couldn't talk. So they challenged me in their decision. Their decision put me on the path in which the majority of my childhood education was spent far behind those my age.

Growing up and transitioning between special-education into normal classes, I constantly saw the normal kids, I saw they were far more advanced than me.

But I also saw it as a challenge.

I had hope that I could be one of them,  I could be as smart as them; I saw people that were better than me and knew they were better than me.

Versus the environment at Horace Mann-I wouldn't have been around the same 'type' of kids. I'm not sure if I would have been the best student there, but I definitely would not be the most delayed.

This may have helped in making me feel more 'normal' as a child, but I would lose the motivation to excel, to be like those better than me. Horace Mann would have given me comfort, but I'd also be settling.

From Day 1 of my education, my parents put me on the path that would dictate my entire future academically as well as personally.

Day 1 at Burbank Unified had put me falling way behind my classmates, but the constant pressure to be like the other kids.

That drive alone established my academics in High School, College, and even professionally now. That drive made me who I am today.

As much as I want to credit myself for the years spent always pushing myself to be known as something more than the girl with Apraxia-I can't.

At the end of the day every decision my parents made for me, when I couldn't make the decisions on my own, those decisions had consequences. Consequences that would impact me and influence who I became for years to come.

As you go through your own Apraxia journeys, I hope you keep this in mind. The decisions you make for speech therapy, schools, and extracurriculars not only have immediate impacts on your child's Apraxia, but lasting effects for the adult they will eventually become.