2017 Northern California Walk for Apraxia

Are you ready for this year’s Northern California Walk for Apraxia?  This event is orchestrated in support of children who are diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech and their families.  Funds raised go toward awareness, aid programs, and education in our community!

 

Support kids affected by childhood apraxia of speech, and attend the 2017 Northern California Walk for Apraxia in Sutter Creek, CA!

 

 

Childhood apraxia is a neurological disorder that affects speech.  It is considered rare, and very difficult to overcome.  Thanks to organizations like CASANA, more children are getting the services and therapies needed to find their voices.

Apraxia keeps kids from effectively articulating their thoughts into understandable speech.  This makes communication hard, if not impossible.  Kids like my six-year-old nephew Zane are often overlooked due to an assumption that being quiet means they’re shy, or that not being able to speak clearly means they’re unintelligent.  Although Zane has made huge strides in his journey, the struggle doesn’t end with his success.  Zane (and my amazing sister, his perpetual advocate) is my reason for participating in this cause.  I’ve been privileged to witness his accomplishments these past few years.  I can’t wait to see where he’ll go next!  For more about Zane’s journey, check out last year’s post on the 2016 walk.

 

2016 Northern California Walk for Apraxia
Zane at the 2016 Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech

CASANA, and its appointed coordinators, have created this unique opportunity to spotlight the kids who fight to speak. It gives them a chance to be acknowledged for overcoming the challenges of apraxia of speech, and mark their progress!

Thanks to generous contributions from our local community, and the commitment of walkers and organizers alike, the 2016 Walk was a rousing success!  Over 130 walkers registered, including over a dozen children who were individually recognized and awarded medals.

This year’s event is on track to be the largest Amador County has seen.  Sponsors thus far include Elk Grove’s Jane Johnson Speech Therapy and local Angels Camp speech therapy center, Communication Rising.  You can help by joining the Walk here, or consider donating a raffle prize!  CASANA also offers social media images you can download to show your support.

 

Join us at the Walk for Children With Apraxia!

 

Support kids affected by childhood apraxia of speech, and attend the 2017 Northern California Walk for Apraxia in Sutter Creek, CA!

 

Can’t make it to our local Walk?  Check out CASANA’s calendar for Walk events across the country!

Apraxia Awareness: Walk for the Cause!

Have you ever heard of apraxia of speech?

A few years ago, before my nephew’s diagnosis, I hadn’t either. Childhood apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder that affects speech. It is considered rare and very difficult to overcome.

 

2016 Northern California Walk for Apraxia

 

My nephew’s story

When he was a toddler, Zane wasn’t very verbal. He had a difficult time expressing himself. He would resort to tears of frustration when he couldn’t make himself understood. Friends would say he was probably just a late bloomer. Someone once remarked that Einstein didn’t speak until he was four.

However well-meaning those comments were, they didn’t help to relieve my sister’s growing suspicions. She sensed that something wasn’t quite right with Zane’s speech development. Megan has now worked with kids who have special needs for over ten years. Though Zane’s symptoms weren’t representative of any condition she was familiar with, she knew he needed help.

 

An elusive diagnosis

By the time Zane turned two, seeking evaluation had become an intensive project. Months of phone calls and appointments first resulted in being told Zane had a minor speech delay. At the time, it didn’t measure significant enough to warrant intervention. Guidelines stated that only children over age two who had more severe skill gaps qualified for services. Another evaluation was scheduled to check on Zane’s progress a few months later.

 

When a diagnosis means hope

Finally, at the age of 2 years and 4 months, Zane was evaluated again and the condition apraxia of speech was discussed.

Megan was relieved, because finally there was a definitive explanation for Zane’s speech challenges. Diving into every available online source, she soon found CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America) and latched onto their resources. Though he didn’t yet have an official diagnosis, Zane began attending intensive speech therapy.

He was later diagnosed with severe/profound apraxia at age four and a half.

 

Challenges of living with apraxia

Megan says the biggest challenge she and her husband have overcome with Zane’s diagnosis is trusting others to be Zane’s voice when he went off to school. We know that kids who are less verbal have less opportunity to make choices and have their needs or desires known. Apraxia keeps kids from effectively articulating their thoughts into understandable speech, making communication difficult, if not impossible.

Apraxia keeps kids from effectively articulating their thoughts... making communication difficult. Click To Tweet

 

Progress in Leaps and Bounds

Luckily for Zane, his progress over the last three years has been remarkable. He is now considered to have mild/moderate apraxia. Megan commends Zane’s program coordinator for providing every resource the family has requested, and notes that her family has been lucky in their ability to access resources through Amador County’s programs. Of course, Zane takes the most credit for his hard work in speech therapy!

After years of worrying about Zane’s future if he was never able to speak, Megan now has some advice for parents of kids facing an apraxia diagnosis. First, trust your gut. When Zane was diagnosed, Megan says it felt good to finally be validated, instead of being looked at like she was crazy.

Parental intuition is huge, and seeking help from a qualified speech language pathologist will get families on the path to answers. Finally, Megan reminds all parents that the most important thing for all parents to do is have hope. She never could have guessed that Zane would make such strides in his speech development.

While not every child will have such quick gains, any step forward is important progress.

 

Join us at a Walk for Children With Apraxia!

CASANA is a non profit organization committed to providing funding to create awareness while providing information for affected families, educators, and research scientists.

Zane and kids like him are often overlooked due to an assumption that being quiet means they’re shy, or that not being able to speak clearly means they’re unintelligent. Walk events spotlight these kids who fight to speak. These events give them a chance to be acknowledged for their struggles and to mark their progress.

This year’s Northern California Walk for Apraxia took place on May 14th at Amador High School. Read more on 2017’s walk here.