Just Let Me Try
"Just let me try." A simple request, yet one so difficult to receive as a parent trying to protect their child with Apraxia.
At the Apraxia Conference the theme was focused on the whole child. Often in the Apraxia journey, we tend to fixate on solely treating the child's speech disorder or getting them to just talk; we often forget that raising a child goes beyond just this obstacle.
It's raising them to hold coping mechanisms to handle stress, teaching them to live with and succeed with testing anxiety, upholding social health. Essentially we also must focus on the social, emotional, and mental well-being of our Apraxia stars as well. Afterall, Apraxia is not only about speech. It's everything in between-everything between classes, peers, family time, and growing up to be the best version we can be.
So when it came to my afternoon session, particularly the topic of Bilingualism, I was very surprised with how many are concerned with their children diagnosed with Apraxia learning a second language. The concept of "They can barely speak 1 language, why would you try a 2nd one" seems to be a common opinion that many face during their journeys as SLPs and parents.
I recall my days in signing up for my first Spanish course. Of course my parents were nervous and met with the administration and teachers to see any viable options or possible accommodations if they became necessary. I recall I kept on saying, "Just let me try. I'm already bad at English, so what does it matter if I'm bad at Spanish too."
Just let me try.
I ended up taking 10 years of Spanish courses between High School, College, and some after college. I am fluent today and quite frankly I love speaking Spanish more than I do English. In Spanish I can roll and say my R's, in English I still cannot say an R correctly.
This isn't meant to serve as guidance about whether or not you sign your child with Apraxia up for a second language (albeit I have a lot of opinions on this, perhaps for another post). My point is-imagine how much our stars with Apraxia can accomplish if we just let them try.
Just let them try that sport, activity, class, or hobby they've been obsessed about. What's the worst thing that can possibly happen? Failure? If so, wouldn't that be failing forward and is that really something to avoid?