If There's One Thing I Could Change

Despite the years of speech therapy and the frustration that comes with the fact I still cannot order a #4 Combo at Taco Bell (I can't say '4,' seriously, I say "The Mexican Pizza Combo" every single time! Anyways, I digress)-I would not change my Apraxia.

I would not want to get rid of it. I would hate to lose my accent. I would hate to have missed the journey I went on.

I would have missed the late nights of homework between speech therapy and school. I would have missed out on learning that you can still fail miserably, even if you try your best.

I would have missed out on learning life lessons far beyond my years. 

I would not change my Apraxia. 

But, if I could, I would change how others look at it.

See, Apraxia is not a 'bad thing.' Annoying, yes, and even irritating-but Apraxia on its own is treatable.

The issues though with the Apraxia Journey always seems to come down to those around us.

It's the annoying family members that say, "He'll talk when he wants."

It's the cynical doctors that say, "You might want to reconsider your future standards; your kid probably won't go to college."

It's the ignorant strangers that remark, "Your kid can't have candy if they don't say 'Trick or Treat.'"

I would not change my Apraxia. But if I could I would change these people's outlooks, empathy, or understanding.

If I could just push a button to make them understand, or at least try to empathize I would.

Now, I am not overly angry at these individuals. Actually, I feel rather sad that they could be so unknowledgeable and lack understanding. However, as an adult, I can't help but to feel a little frustrated.

See, as a speaking adult with an accent, I always encounter individuals that ask me about the accent, usually the conversation follows:,

"Oh is that an accent I hear?"

I say, "Oh, it's this speech disorder I had as a kid, Apraxia..."

Their eyes turn white, like a deer in the headlights and they try to cover their tracks,"Oh I'm sorry that must have been so difficult."

'I'm sorry'-please, the only reason why you're apologizing is because 1. You think it's a touchy subject and 2. You didn't think I had a disorder and now you're the one feeling uncomfortable. 

Don't worry, usually aloud I respond, "No, don't apologize you didn't know. But next time you see a non-verbal kid, just try to be super nice to them."

I'm not sure if my comment does much other than make it an uncomfortable situation. But, I do honestly believe that people just don't know any better. If they knew better, maybe they'd treat others with rare disorders a little differently and for the better. I can only hope that perhaps if they run into a non-verbal child, Apraxia or not, they think about the woman with the accent that corrected them.

Perhaps discomfort can be a learning lesson for the unaware.

However, whatever happens, I can only note how telling it is that I would rather change the world around us than change any of our defects.