If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know about my daughter’s long struggle with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. If not, here’s a brief version of the story:
Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor-speech disorder, which is a fancy way of saying that the brain knows what to say but the mouth can’t keep up. This is frustrating for a young child who wants nothing more than to communicate.
Our daughter Anna is one of those children. By two-years-old, she was talking non-stop, but we could only understand a handful of words: “mama,” “dada,” “Elmo,” and, of course, the all-important “no.” We knew something wasn’t right, but we didn’t know what the problem was.
Today, after three-and-a-half years of intensive speech therapy, we can understand about 95% of what Anna says. Complete strangers understand her most of the time as well. She can interact with her friends, raise her hand to answer a question at school, and order her own meals at restaurants all without the fear of not being understood. It’s a powerful gift.
But speech therapy isn’t cheap and many families can’t afford it, even with insurance converge. Like all parents, we would do anything for our child, but money isn’t always there no matter how strictly you might budget. This is where an organization like CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America) makes a difference. Through their 5K walks held throughout the year at numerous locations nationwide, CASANA brings families together, promotes awareness, and raises money to help make speech therapy affordable to all children with Apraxia of Speech.
We walked last year, we’re walking again this year, and Anna is doing her part to help. Over the last few months, she’s been saving her chore money—quarters, dimes, and nickels she earns doing small tasks around the house—in a special Apraxia bank. She also got the idea—from the Ramona books and movie—to run her own lemonade stand during our garage sale last Saturday.
And she donated half the money she made selling her preschool-aged toys to the walk as well. Overall, she raised $50. We matched it, bringing her total contribution to $100.
We’re so proud of her.