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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: To say your name

Friday, May 2, 2014

To say your name

Most people might take for granted their name. You have a name, you've always had a name, and basically that's that.  Kids with Apraxia have a name too, and they know it just like you.  There is, however, one difference.  Many can't say their name at first. Can you imagine?  How many times are little children asked their name?  It's basically the first question strangers ask them right up there with how old they are.

Every child deserves a voice, and every child should be able to say their own name. A name is not only your identity, it gives a symbolic representation of YOU.  A verbal representation of letters and sounds that come together and allow you to say YOU are YOU. A name carries history, geneology, and meaning to the carrier.  It's so important, that even if one vowel in someone's name is mispronounced, the offended will quickly correct the offender. Just recently in the news, John Travolta mispronounced Idina Menzel's name when introducing her at the Tony Awards read here and she reported that it threw her off for like eight seconds and she had to give herself a pep talk saying "stop worrying about your name and sing this song."

So...needless say.  A name is important.

I remember back to the early days of speech/therapy.  Her private SLP had a great idea.  In those days she was only working on CV and VC syllables.  We could get Ash, and we could get In.  We settled for Ashinn.  I actually was thrilled then when she said it.  After that, it took repetition after repetition to actually put the sounds together correctly and then more practice with her actually remembering and saying it on command.  I have a note from her school SLP frequently about how they would go around her preschool last year and practice saying her name when people asked her. 

I was okay with this, because as an SLP I know that L within the realm of what we consider a later developing sound.  Basically, it's still developmentally appropriate not to have an L at three years old, apraxia or not.  

Now Ashlynn is 4 years 7 months.  Just a few days ago my husband and I went to the grocery store and the clerk asked her, "What's your name?"  We waited for her to respond and she said "Ashin."  The clerk as expected said, "Oh Ashley, what a cute name,"  and as expected without even thinking, my husband and I both followed up, "Yes, AshLYNN."  

Then came today.  We were looking at pictures in our photo album that I was putting away.  In it, I had some pictures of her friends from school.  I was quizzing her on their names and she could tell me most of them.  We came to a girl named "Calista." Very deliberately, she said "Ca-Lista"  

My head whipped around.
"Ashlynn!  Did you hear the L sound in her name??  You said CaLista!!  Say it again, CaLista."
"Ashlynn!  Do you realize that sound is in your name??  Say AshLynn."

And there it is.  Today, May 2nd 2014, Ashlynn finally said her name with all the sounds.  So funny how these small things bring big tears.

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At May 2, 2014 at 4:35 PM , Blogger M Brunson said...

Yay!!!! Congratulations! Go Ashlynn!!
Paige still doesn't say her name perfectly, but she says it well enough that strangers finally understand her... something we are thrilled about!

At May 3, 2014 at 2:15 PM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Thank you!! Yes, it is so exciting :) :) :)

At May 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Jennie Malin said...

Gave me the chills, what a fantastic moment!

At May 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Thank you Jenni! It was a very special moment :)

At May 20, 2014 at 6:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just catching up!!! Yay!! This made my whole entire day.


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