This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenienceā€¦

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
SLP Mommy of Apraxia

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I'm moving! Find me at slpmommyofapraxia.com!!

When I started blogging, it was an outlet to document all the difficulties with my sweet Ashlynn.  Since that time, it turned into so much more.  It's still my personal blog, but it has inspired me to do and write so much more.

My husband is a software developer at Steam Engine Studios, and wanted to update my blog into a webpage.  All my old content, and now my new content will be found there at:


Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Know an Old Lady Book Who Swallowed a Pie Book Companion Pack.

Two years ago, I wrote a post entitled November book of the month.  At that time Ashlynn was just starting to imitate really well, and I used this repetitive book with her to have her work on the CV shape "pie."

Fast forward two years and here we are.  Ashlynn can now say most of the Thanksgiving items in this book, she just has a hard time with word recall and has expressive language needs now at this time.

I created this companion pack for her, but for also my kiddos with a variety of speech/language needs.  The first part contains all the pictures in the story with a sequencing board for the kids to sequence their pictures.

The next part has a following directions activity incorporating a variety of spatial concepts with the vocabulary (i.e. "put the squash between the lady and the table)."

Part three contains a 9 page mini book with the pictures for the kids to practice a sentence, "She ate a ..."

The last page contains an enlarged version of the old lady's head with her mouth open, that you can cut out and glue to a manilla envelope and cut out the mouth.  You can then have the kids "feed" the old lady all the vocabulary items using whatever speech or language target you choose!

Get it here in my TpT store!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wait...is she the ....R word?

Oh apraxia is a sneaky devil.  For so long I prayed to just hear her sweet voice say what she wanted to say.  At some point she started imitating really well.  She didn't really call out to me "mama" and she didn't really offer up "I love you" but she could say it in imitation, and this was good.  This was very good...because NOT hearing those words was devastating.

I still hear my husband putting her to bed at night.

Husband: "I love you Ashlynn."


Husband: Say, "I...love....you."

The progression was slow, but she would do it, in her own way using word approximations.  Never spontaneously though.

The last two years are a blur of therapy appointments, speech practice, working toward the next goal. Despite what I would see at home, she would never show her skills to others so anytime she did something new at school or in therapy and they were so proud, I was just left giving a small thanks that at least she's showing what she does at home.

Family who knew her began understanding her more and more.  However, those who didn't still questioned what she was saying.  Disappointing to say the least, but the honest feedback was a necessary reality check.  I know what she's saying 99% of the time, so it sucks when even her school SLP rates her at about a 60%.  Oh well.  I need honesty, and that's honest.

On her fifth birthday though, it all started to change.  I posted a video of her, and the feedback was incredible.  Everyone could understand her!!  Other people were validating what I have seen for so long!!

A progress note from school only lists a few artic errors: inconsistent 'l' and 'l' blends, a frontal lisp 's' pattern, and occasional errors with multi-syllabic words and consonant clusters.  Of more concern now are expressive language delays including: grammar, sentence formulation, and word finding.

That's when it hit me.  Ashlynn is almost "resolved" from CAS.  Her motor plan (I'm tearing up), has caught up.

What?  Could it be true? Can I actually start to even consider my daughter might be working toward resolved CAS?

How could that be?  It's only been two years, but then I remember the struggle has been so much longer.  Is this really the girl who could only say "hi" and "a dah" for everything?  The girl who said "nah" for "bus" and "dada" for "iPad?"

I read something once that said,

The days are long but the years are short.

Yes.  Yes.  Perhaps this is true.  At some point I stopped praying my nightly prayer that she would overcome apraxia.  When did that happen??

I'm always looking toward the next problem.  The next goal.  She has an expressive language disorder now, and the future for a reading disability is still unknown.

Maybe I need to stop for a minute.  Smell the roses Laura.  There was a time you yearned to hear that sweet voice.  That very voice today that told you, "I like you mama.  I like you.  I like daddy and I like Jace.  You're my family."

What I would have traded or given to her those words two years ago.

So yes, I'm going to pause.  I'm going to freeze time.  I'm going to think, if only for a moment, how sweet it is to hear my daughter's voice.  A voice that is her own and able to express her own thoughts.

I'm going to reflect on the fact, that in just two short years, I met the head of CASANA and went on to now have advanced training and expertise in CAS.  I literally have national apraxia experts a keystroke away via email.

Say what?  How did that happen?  How did any of this happen?

I just asked to join the facebook group for resolved apraxia but with new issues.  Yes.  That's us.  We now fit into that category. My daughter talks so much I now know she needs help with expressive language.  How amazing is that?

Even though I was late to the game in my opinion because I so wanted to believe Ashlynn was just a late talker, none of this would have been possible without early intervention.....wait...let me clarify...appropriate early intervention.

For reasons I will probably address later, I'm so, so, so grateful that Ashlynn's initial evaluating SLP (in the schools) told me it was CAS.  I knew then I had to get her private services.  I knew then I had to research this disorder.  I knew then our life would never be the same.

I'd seen CAS before.  I'm an elementary SLP, and in my 10 years of experience, two kids walked through my door in Kindergarten nonverbal.

That would have been Ashlynn had not appropriate therapy been initiated.  That meant that as an SLP, even I had to pay out of pocket.  $365 - $425 a month.  Yes.  Ouch.  Therapy is expensive, but it's worth it.  I just had a baby in that time too and was on maternity leave.  We didn't have any extra money.  You make sacrifices.  It's necessary.

I knew I didn't want Ashlynn walking into a Kindergarten classroom nonverbal, so my husband and bit the bullet and went broke funding her therapy.

It doesn't matter now.  It was all worth it.  I'm so proud of her.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A tale of two roles: navigating my role on both sides of apraxia.

I first met a fellow mommy of apraxia at the Denver Apraxia Walk.  She was pleasant with kind eyes, and said she felt her 5 year old son needed a change up in speech therapy services.

The next week her son was scheduled for therapy at the private clinic in which I work.

In most cases, I have my parents come with their child into my office.  I NEED them to see what I see.  I NEED them to do what I do.  They are with their child the most, and they are completely capable of carrying over what I am doing, as long as they know WHAT I am doing.

Normally the child might be somewhat distracted by the parent; however, this day, I was the one distracted.  Not by my client, but by his mom.  There isn't one word to describe her face, but there were multiple adjectives rolled into one: worry, anxiety, fear, hope.

These are only a few, and honestly, they killed me.

I understood more when she said she had successfully home schooled 4 other children, some even in college.  I admired her.  She not only stayed home and raised her kids, but she taught them school as well.  Their entire childhood development rested on her shoulders and she had done a good job.

But her baby.  Her last child.  This one was different.

I felt her pain.  I absorbed her worry.  I took responsibility for her hope.

I knew I could help her son.  He wasn't receiving the right therapy.  That was evident from his first session.

I was so moved, I came home and told my husband.  I described her face and how it was hard for me to take because I kept absorbing all of her emotions.

It's hard to watch a mother visibly show almost every emotion I went through with Ashlynn's dx, but then be able to turn that off and be the professional SLP I need to be.

I recently watched an initial video I took when I saw him.  Again, though I was trying my hardest to focus on him, I couldn't help but look at his mom in the background.  The worry on her face is tangible.  I just want to yell out, "I will help him mom."  "Slow down."  "Stop worrying."  "He is going to be okay."

Unfortunately, I know saying all of those things is like telling the sun not to rise.  A mother's worry cannot be extinguished.

Last week though, something was different about her demeanor.  A softness was in her face. Upon further questioning, I discovered her oldest daughter came home from college and told her she saw a difference in her little brother's speech.

That's all it took.  Outside validation from an inside source.

I'm sure that doesn't mean she's still not worried, but I hope a small weight, even if ever so tiny, was taken off her shoulders.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Costume Character Prosody Game

While working with one of my kiddos with CAS this past week, I improvised a fun way to incorporate prosody into our lesson.  Since it's around Halloween, we said his target words in different voices like our ghost voice, monster voice, or vampire voice!  

I decided to make a game that would work really anytime of year to work on prosody.  Say it like a Costume Character has 2 sets of 16 different costume characters.  Another 8 cards include fun game directions like: "Costume Caper!  Take a character from another player."

Each player has a game board with 8 spots.  Whoever fills up their game board first with a different character occupying each space wins!

Of course, you could always just have your students draw a card and say their targets using their character imitation, or you can play Memory or Go Fish since two sets of cards are included.

Find it in my TpT store: Say it Like a Costume Character

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Oh my goodness!!" Ashlynn turns 5!

The day started long before the AM. Preparations were in place to decorate the house after Ashlynn went to bed.

This year was different though.  When I left to leave while Cody was putting her to bed, she asked me where I was going.

"Mama?  Where you going?"

Though I tried my best to cover, she asked,

"You going for my birthday?"

Freeze time.

My daughter has ALWAYS been astute and observant, but we usually could play it off and nothing more was said.


That's the thing.  Nothing more was said, but Ashlynn has been watching all these years.  I think, wait, I KNOW she knew what was going on.

We celebrated her birthday this morning.  My son has been getting up at 3 AM every morning for the past two weeks, so I was sleeping in a chair in his room when I heard noise outside.  I walked out and saw Ashlynn gasping for breath.  No, she wasn't in trouble, she saw the balloons in the hallway!

She's seen these before, but today, she could EXPRESS that she really SAW them.  I had my phone on me and starting rolling the film.

Me: Ashlynn, what do you see?

Ashlynn: Oh...my....GOODness. (dancing through balloons looking at her decorations)

Ashynn: Whose presents are these?

Me: Those are YOUR presents!!

Ashlynn: Who give them to me?

Me: Mommy and Daddy!

Ashlynn: Yeah?  Look!  It's my jerjay Jace (dang assimilation...if you're an SLP, you would find this fascinating, especially since she can say "birthday"

Jace: It's your birthday today?

Ashlynn; Yes, it is!

Me: How old are you Ashlynn?

Ashlynn showing ten fingers: This many!!!

Me: Say, "I'm five!"

Ashlynn in excited fashion: "I'm five!!!

A little later on,

Ashlynn: Mama, where's my cake?

The last two years I made her a cake, but this year I decided to buy her a pretty Minnie ice cream cake that we hadn't picked up yet.  I was surprised she asked where it was.

Take that apraxia!

As the morning rolled on, I was folding clothes when my husband came into the room, eyes red. Emotional. But before I explain why, it's important to know the back story.

A couple weeks ago we were discussing what to get Ashlynn for her birthday.  My husband always has it in his head to get our kids a BIG gift.  He remembers the BIG gifts from his childhood...and some he even remembers what age he was when he received them.

I don't remember my big gifts.  I remember gifts, usually practical.  I love gifts, but for example, on my list for Ashlynn's gifts I had: long sleeve shirts, winter coat, robe, socks....(follow Cody's "really?!?" face).

Ashlynn just isn't into BIG gifts.  For some reason, she loves cards.  Any cards.  Trading cards, flash cards, alphabet cards, playing cards....cards.

I told Cody, if he wanted to get her a BIG gift, he should get her cards.  Buy her a binder she could decorate and put in pocket protectors.  He did...begrudgingly.  But it's true. It's what she wants.  We took her to the toy store THREE times, and she just wasn't crazy about anything.

Okay, so back to his red eyed confession.

Cody: Ashlynn just said "thank you daddy" unprompted.

Me: Really?  For what?

Cody: Buying her cards. She's never said thank you unprompted before.

Take that apraxia!!

As the guests arrived, her Grandma and  Grandpa  were two of the first people in the door.  She excitedly ushered her grandpa to her swing where she got him to push her.  I remember a time my dad came to visit and she wasn't really talking.  She said 'hi' but that was about it.  He left that day and told my mom he wasn't sure Ashlynn knew he was.  You can read about that story here.

The thing is, Ashlynn always knew who he was.  She knew he's the guy who plays ball and boats with her. She knew, but because she couldn't say, he left feeling the way he did.

All those are distant memories now.  She asked him "you push me on the swing?"  and they were gone.

As she was opening gifts, she was telling everyone "thank you" in a big loud voice.  She opened up a box that had a hoodie in it that she saw in the store shopping with me and told me it was pretty.  This was her face opening it up.  I think she liked it ;)

Another shirt she opened had the word Princess written on it.  I asked her who calls her princess.  As she looked up and scanned the crowd, her eyes stopped on her other grandpa that was there. She smiled and pointed at him, saying his name.  He later reported what a cool moment that was.  Verbal confirmation that Ashlynn has always known all along just what has been going on.

This year, singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles all came easy.  That milestone was met last year.  

The best came at bedtime.  I read her a bedtime story, prayed, and then kissed her goodnight.  She was holding the card book Cody gave her.  She told me, "Mommy!  These are my decorations."  (She was pointing out her room decorations that have been on her wall since basically she was born).  Yes, honey, those are you room decorations. "Yep, just like my decorations for my birthday."  

She is starting to retain, recall, and generalize higher vocabulary.  I smiled.  Then she pointed to her card book.  

Ashlynn: Daddy gave this to me

Me: Yes, he did

Ashlynn: That was nice of him.  You get him so I say thank you?

Me: You bet Ashlynn.

And that's how we are kicking apraxia's butt!

Happy 5th Birthday Ashlynn!  May you continue to find your voice and voice your thoughts, hopes, and dreams.


Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spooky Spider Web Game For Apraxia

Since Childhood Apraxia of Speech requires a different approach to treatment, principles of motor learning theory need to be driving therapy.   You can read more about this in my two interviews: Sharon Gretz interview and Ruth Stoeckel Interview

Since getting 100-200 reps per session can be tedious and difficult to keep new and fresh, I came up with this fun Halloween game to play while you work on the child's target sounds.

Download it at my TpT store: Spooky Spiderweb game

Happy Halloween!

Labels: , , , , , ,