Ok first I am asking you to bear with me as I try not to cry. After all this is my baby we are talking about!
Lucas is a beautiful, sweet, mischievous, extremely active little boy who loves the color pink and bad guys! It is funny that I want to say "words cannot describe" because that is exactly what his Apraxia is all about, finding his words...his voice! If you have ever had a child you know that shortly after their first birthday you begin looking forward to their babbling changing into Mama, Dada, and Baba. It is one of those miraculous and sweet memories families share as they bet on which will be the first word. Lucas did not babble. He coo'd but those sweet constants never came through. Lucas would also scream all day at me. By 18 months I was worried and by 21 months I called my doctor who had me call Early Intervention Services to have him evaluated. By 23 months old he began services and still had no words. Lucas qualified for speech and developmental services. Those beautiful women became my coaches.
Fast forward to today! Lucas is 5 years old! He fights past his Apraxia to make sure he is understood. If you don't understand him the first, second or third time he will use a variety of resources to help him. He uses basic signs, gestures, or contextual clues. My boy has a Warriors Spirit! Giving Lucas his voice is a family effort. Before Lucas had words we taught him sign language. Gabriel would look through the book to learn new signs to teach to all of us. He is an awesome big brother! I remember the days that Leo and I would listen to Lucas, quietly counting out how many words he was able to string together...well, approximations of words but we didn't care because we were hearing our little boy talk!
Lucas even loves hearing himself talk. If you follow me on facebook you probably have seen one of the video's I post. These video's have served to remind me just how far he has come. Battling Apraxia means you aim for an inch not a mile. Sometimes you can progress two inches just to fall back three. That is when the video's come in handy.
Apraxia Awareness is a way of life for us. Leo and I don't excuse Lucas' speech to everyone by explaining that he has a speech disorder called Apraxia. Why would we? We are so proud of his accomplishments! When we go out to eat Lucas will order his own drink, if he is not understood we simply tell the waiter what he wants. We never discourage Lucas' speech attempts.
May 14th is Apraxia Awareness Day.