Apraxia is a kind of motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for the body to produce speech in a right way. Motor speech disorders are related to the brain. A child’s brain is unable to coordinate the different body parts that produce speech—the tongue, lips, and lower jaw. Due to this neural difference, kids with apraxia struggle with arranging and uttering sounds, syllables, and words when they are making an attempt to communicate. Due to these struggles, children with apraxia can be tough to understand.
Being a parent of a child with apraxia of speech can be difficult and baffling. It may make you worried and often impatient to hear your kid talking like all the other children. A bit of your patience, hope and the following few tips to help your child with apraxia will bring him out of this state and into a position of communicating successfully and with ease.
USE OF SIGN LANGUAGE:
The use of signs does not in any way means that your child has a problem in hearing or understanding the word that is spoken. Using the signs can help your kid, serving as visual cues, which provides a multi-sensory input enabling the child to produce the correct word by just the sight of the cue.
It also reduces frustration in both kids and parents, enabling the child to have their basic needs communicated and understood without a lot of struggle which often results in anger and frustration.
As soon as the child becomes more intelligible, they avoid using signs and prefer speaking those words instead.
PROVIDE A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT:
Your child with apraxia has to face many difficult situations like when at school they might have to hear things like “She cannot speak, let us not ask her to play with us” or when they cannot express their emotions like all the other kids. It is important that you provide a supportive environment for your kid with apraxia of speech and be patient with them.
Give your child love and acceptance for who he is and look for resources like guides, blogs and therapies that may help your child to overcome this disorder successfully.
Buy illustrative story books for your child and read it to him on a daily basis. Also point at all the things you find in the atmosphere, the sun, the moon, and the birds to help your child understand each word and say it out loud without feeling agitated.
You can also use any props like the colorful tools in your first aid kit to teach them a variety of words while making them feel like they are learning to use a first aid kit in emergency times.
WHEN WORDS FAIL, LET MUSIC SPEAK:
Keeping a flow in the words and use of rhymes can help your kid to learn faster and get to know the sounds better. It makes more fun for a kid to learn speech that way without feeling that he is the odd one out. You and your kid’s siblings can all participate in singing songs like itsy bitsy spider or the poems that have repetitive words.
You can also use verbal cues and props and even musical instruments to make it less awkward and more fun for your kid. This will motivate your kid to do better and reduce his frustration. Doing an exercise like this might also help you to create a better environment in the house and bring your children closer as siblings.
This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at HealthyRecharge.com