Poor Phone Signal: An Apraxia Struggle
I promised this blog post awhile ago, as a grandparent is struggling with their 6-year old grandchild with Apraxia who gets upset when not understood:
Why am I talking, yet no one can hear me? No one can understand me?
Am I not talking loud enough? Or are others just not able to get me?
At Six Years Old, I was 95% unintelligible. One year later, I'd finally be able to say my name 'Alyson' clear enough that others would understand me. So, when it comes to understanding a child's frustration with the inability to communicate, I may be able to shed some light.
The frustration is unreal, indescribable, and unnerving. Of constantly talking-or trying to talk-yet not being understood.
Ever call someone on the phone with poor phone signal? There's brief frustration, right? You give up, yell that you'll call them back, sigh, and hang up.
Luckily for you that frustration is brief.
For a young child with Apraxia, that frustration is constantly felt.
To them-they are talking clearly, loud enough, and perfectly. To them-they feel that their 'phone signal' is correct and yours is messed up.
This is the perspective for a child with Apraxia. The perspective that they are talking correctly and others just don't understand, that the issue is with others and not their own communication. This sort of perspective is typical at the beginning of their journeys.
This perspective is temporary; as is their frustration and tantrums.
They'll realize, accept, learn, or recognize that the issue isn't other's ability to understand. That the true issue is their difficulty in verbal communication.
The acceptance or recognition of it perhaps is the hardest part of the journey.
It's realizing that you're defective.
There's ups and downs after: there's a great motivation in Speech Therapy-maybe if you talk 'normal' you wouldn't have as many bullies? Then there's the days where you're crying and praying for God to take your voice away or just give you a new one (because to a child, this is how praying works).
Then there's the ups again when you realize that you can't cry or pray your defective voice away. Where you tell yourself: This is my voice, I am going to fight for it, I am going to be a smart student and you push through.
Then there's another down when you get so close and a teacher says, "Can you say 'R' at the end of Jupiter? We can't understand you."
The point is-there's ups and downs in every journey. It wouldn't be much of a journey if there wasn't any highs or lows. Watching a movie without any villains or tragedies would make every story awfully boring.
The frustrations of a 6 year old with Apraxia today will become a thing of the past. These frustrations will transform into knowledge, then acceptance, then strength, and then empowerment (perhaps, with a few bumps here and there as always in life).