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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: Turning Pain into a Purpose

Friday, September 19, 2014

Turning Pain into a Purpose

Two years ago,
 I found out my almost three year old first born had Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  Despite being an SLP and treating CAS at the elementary level, I failed to recognize it in my baby.
It was a VERY difficult time filled with overwhelming sadness for my daughter and guilt as her mother...an SLP who didn't realize she had CAS.

It rocked my world.  
Not only did the dx devastate me, but her silence and struggle to speak was truly heartbreaking.  You CANNOT  appreciate how complex speech is until you watch a child struggle to speak.
I was sad and I was angry.  I had a master's degree in Speech/Language Pathology, but my education about CAS consisted of 20 short pages. Every time I think about this, write this, or say this, I can't help but shake my head.  This isn't right.

I decided soon after I would become an expert in CAS and I would help not only my daughter, but other children who were the same.  I had NO idea how I was going to do this.  I researched like crazy.  I found out a national Apraxia conference was coming to Denver the next year.  I took it as a sign.  I signed up for webinars.  I created a binder full of CAS treatment and research.  I watched a three hour Kaufman video at my private practice.   I talked to my cousin who is also an SLP, and she said she had two videos from David Hammer and Ruth Stoeckel I could borrow.  I devoured them.   I expressed my desire to specialize in CAS to my clinical director.  She didn't blink.  I had her full support 100%.

After attending the Apraxia National Convention, I found out about an apraxia bootcamp.  I wanted in.  I talked to the founder of CASANA, and she explained it was highly competitive.  The wind kinda went out of my sails.  She still encouraged me to apply, but I didn't feel confident.  The clinical director at my private practice started filtering the kids with apraxia to me.  Her faith in me was affirming, and I was more determined than ever.

Then, I found out I got in.  I was a mix of emotions.  This is what I wanted, but it also meant leaving my family for FOUR days. Being without my babies, my heart, would be hard.....but I absolutely believed in this cause.  I was going to go, but.... I had never flown alone.  I had never been to the East Coast.  I had never left my babies for this long.  I read a quote, "if it's both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it."  Check and check.  Its "go time" as my daughter would say.

Then today, a little over two years after my affirmation, I received this.

CONGRATULATIONS go to Laura Smith for successfully completing her case study and now being:

CASANA Recognized for Advanced Training and Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech."

I AM an apraxia expert, recognized by CASANA for advanced expertise. I am elated.  The road here was difficult, but amazing.  I once read that the definition of happiness is "the feeling we feel when striving toward our potential."

 When striving toward our potential.  NOT when we achieve it.  So here I am.  What is my next goal?  What is my NEXT potential?  What am I striving toward?  I have some ideas.  Some small and some REALLY big.

One thing I've learned from Ashlynn though...a positive attitude, perseverance, and a willingness to fail and try again = success.

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At September 20, 2014 at 6:55 AM , Anonymous Brooke said...

Congrats laura! Can't wait to hear what your next goal is!!!

At September 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Thanks Brooke!

At September 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Kim & Alex said...



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