I was so excited when I got a copy of Leslie Lindsay’s book, Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech
I am even more excited to have her do a guest post on her perspective as a parent of a child with CAS! Read on for some great “Speech Rules” for parents and come back tomorrow to hear more about Leslie’s book…
How Your Child with Apraxia Can Help You Learn
By Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N.
I am thrilled to be a guest blogger on Crazy Speech World! Here I will share with you some insights and tips on how you may give your child the gift of voice through some simple activities you can incorporate on a daily basis. Here goes!
Throughout human history–and long before–kids have been warming their parents’ hearts. They make them laugh, force them beyond their comfort zone, and give them a surge of pride. Yet, they can also confuse and baffle.
When my then-2 ½ year old daughter, Kate was given the diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), I had little idea what that really meant, or how I might grow into a better parent from all of this. But I did. Kate taught me many valuable lessons. Here are some common speech-language pathology “rules” in regards to CAS—and why those rules are so important. But, the ‘best’ message is the one your child may teach you.
“Speech Rule” #1: Have your child repeat, repeat, repeat! Movement repetitions build strong motor planning/programming/gestures. Can you say that again?
What your child might teach you: Patience is the key. If I don’t repeat the words you just said, don’t give up on me. I am new to this and need some time to digest the information.
“Speech Rule” #2: Provide lots of opportunities throughout the day to get your child to talk or vocalize—about anything. Your child will begin to see that communication is indeed a fun part of life. What color is that dog? Is the cup big or small?
What your child might teach you: It’s great that you want to work with me and help, but sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I just want to be quiet. Give me some down time, too. And most of all—don’t make me ‘perform’ in front of Grandma and Grandpa or the neighbors. I’m still pretty self-conscious about my speaking abilities—or lack thereof.
“Speech Rule” #3: Be goofy and funny. If you are relaxed and your kiddo is relaxed, words will come easier. Ask nonsensical questions to elicit a response, give silly options.
What your child might teach you: It’s good to chill-out sometimes, mom and dad. You take things too seriously sometimes. I love when we laugh together, we should do it more often.
“Speech Rule” #4: Make talking and speech practice more about your lifestyle and less about “sit and speak” time. In this sense, you “work it in” to your routine.
What your child might teach you: I spend enough time in speech and school. If you make me sit at the dining room table and go over speech words one more time, I might scream. If you make speech fun and functional then I just might go along with you.
“Speech Rule” #5: The more talking feels like work, the less willing your kiddo will be to do it.
What your child might teach you: When you are worried and anxious about my talking, I feel it too. That doesn’t do either of us any good. Don’t make me ‘work’ for my snack, or something else I want. If I can’t say it perfectly, don’t stress; but do push me along sometimes. You’ll know when I’ve had enough.
“Speech Rule” #6: Imitation is huge, too. “Can you say what I say?” Try it. If imitation is too hard, try doing it in unison. Remember all of the chanting our grandparents did in school for memorization? Even singing the ABC song is a form of imitation in the form of chanting memorization.
What your child might teach you: I like when we sing songs together. It’s fun and silly and helps me feel confident. Plus, I think it’s cool when you teach me a new, grown-up word like ‘independent’ or ‘gymnasium.’ It’s fun to try!
“Speech Rule” #7: You are mom or dad first. You do not need to become your child’s speech-language pathologist. Kids are smart. They will know what you’re up to and won’t participate if you act too much like their SLP.
What your child might teach you: I totally get that you want me to talk more. But I want more time just to be your little girl/boy. I might really like my speech-language therapist, but don’t worry, mom and dad: YOU are the center of my universe.
Leslie Lindsay is a former child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic. Her daughter, Kate is a bright and creative 2nd grader resolving from childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). It is because of her that Leslie wrote the first book designed for parents on this complex neurologically-based motor speech disorder. Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012) is as much as labor of love as it is a resource to help others along their apraxia journey. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two daughters, and a basset hound where she writes full-time.
- Follow her blog, Practical Parenting…With a Twist! in which she writes 5x/week on apraxia, education, parenting, and the writer’s life.
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