Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We've Met Along the Way

by Sam, Contributing Writer

No way!!! Has it really been an entire year since we visited CASANA? It went by in a blink.

When I look back at the ambition and optimism at that moment, my immediate thought is that it went by so quickly, I didn’t even have time to be sure we stayed on task. 

Our ultimate goal after visiting Dave Hammer was to integrate his goals into therapy for the year.

We gave it a few months and then realized that it was time for a change in therapists. We needed a fresh start with someone who had different ideas and who was open to integrating some of Dave’s strategies.

We decided to take the plunge with a local SLP whose name we had heard of several times over the years, but the cost per session had been holding us back. Despite her waiting list, she managed to fit us in sooner than originally planned. So the day before my C-section with baby number four, we went in for an evaluation.

Nervous but excited, we were accepted and placed on her schedule twice a week. She felt good about allowing Andon to drop to twice a week given the amount of time he’s spent in speech therapy over the last three years. I was hesitant, but listened since it was easier financially as well.

We were happy that she also respected our desire to incorporate Dave’s recommendations into Andon’s therapy plan. We were surprised when visiting Dave that “simple” things on the top of his list hadn’t been noticed or dealt with despite multiple speech therapists.

The following are some (not all) of the things Dave Hammer suggested we focus on:

1.) Vowel Distortion. When Andon was diagnosed with apraxia at age three, our SLP went through the vowels with him and was pleased. Long /a/ was a tricky one for him and he always substituted with a short /a/. Other than that, the vowels sounded good. We moved on and never considered revisiting them.

At first I was shocked when Dave pointed out vowel distortion, but once I was aware of the problem, it became obvious. Most of the vowels had a sneaky substitution of another vowel.

Dave suggested using Turtle Vowels – Easy Does it for Apraxia of Speech. Our new SLP printed the materials to go along with it and this was our “at home work.” This was another perk for us because we had consistently asked other speech therapists for at home practice, but rarely received it.

Man were these vowels tricky! We watched our SLP’s strategies for getting the sounds from him and we copied them. When Andon accurately made the vowel sounds, we focused on repetition. The vowels alone turned out to be quite a job.

2.) Omitted Consonant Sounds. Dave suggested we focus on omitted consonant sounds instead of substituted consonant sounds. He was right again. A word without a sound was much harder to make out than one with a substituted sound.

3.) Missing Functors. These are also called “function words” and Andon was specifically omitting the following state of being verbs: is, am, was. Dave gave us some strategies for adding missing functors back into Andon’s vocabulary.

Our new SLP had a plan in place for all these things and we were able to get started. We were also happy that she immediately began integrating some Kaufman, which had rarely been used with Andon.

Where Are We At Now?

Our speech therapist works hard with Andon. She fits a lot into her time with him, but also watches him for burnout and integrates play when needed. We have, for the most part, reached each of the goals implemented by Dave Hammer and continue to progress.

My suggestion to those of you years into therapy is to branch out when things get stale. Sometimes it’s simpler for a new pair of eyes and ears to get involved. Also don’t forget to revisit and review. These kiddos with apraxia can backslide at times.

Andon is progressing. It’s not a fast process, but he is progressing. He slows down when speaking and focuses on his words, sounds, and sentences in conversation consistently. I’m so very proud of him and reward him often for his hard work.


One of Andon’s rewards for working hard in speech therapy.

I watch my beautiful little boy (don’t tell him I said that – lol – he’s such a boy that he hates the words beautiful and pretty and prefers we call him awesome) sit with such discipline and focus each week with his SLP despite the fact that he’s just tired of going to speech. I don’t blame him. He’s been doing it for as long as he can remember.

He consistently asks me when he’ll be old enough to stop going. I just tell him it’s his job to work hard at practicing his sounds and someday he’ll be old enough to graduate. I pray that only good things come from these experiences and that he’ll be a better person for it.

by Katie, SLP, Contributing Writer

Do you ever feel like there is a missing piece in your child’s language development, especially in the areas of reading and listening comprehension? Can you just not find the key to unlock the mystery of why he continues to experience difficulty despite therapy, extra help, and tutoring? Please keep reading! Perhaps what I describe below is the missing link!

Ever since I heard Ellen Brigger, MEd, Lead Teacher for the Apraxia Academic Program at St. Rita School for the Deaf and a presenter at CASANA’s 2014 10th Annual National Conference on Childhood Apraxia of Speech in Nashville, TN suggest using Nanci Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing program, I knew I had found my next continuing education pursuit!

This past July, I had the privilege of attending a Visualizing and Verbalizing training in Asheville, NC. I have also now been able to utilize the first steps of the program with several of my students. What a super neat experience to watch children learn to make detailed pictures in their minds and then express what they are seeing back to me!

I have found this program to be an excellent tool for helping children meaningfully fill existing holes in their expressive vocabulary. Additionally, the structure words within this program provide a concrete starting place for eliciting verbalizations in children who have difficulty expressing their thoughts and ideas. It has also been particularly enlightening to learn that a child can be more successful at performing higher order thinking tasks (e.g., main idea, conclusion, prediction, inference) when he can clearly picture what the words he is reading are depicting.


So, what is Visualizing and Verbalizing? It is a program “specifically designed to develop language comprehension and thinking” which is based on the connection between imagery (nonverbal) and language (verbal). A “sequence for imagery stimulation” is presented very clearly and systematically and is suggested to produce “remarkable results.” Though designed to be administered individually, Visualizing and Verbalizing can be adapted for groups. There are no proposed age or ability limitations for its use.

Nanci Bell provides insight into the many symptoms a child may exhibit which may, at least in part, have their root in weak concept imagery. Some of these symptoms, in addition to difficulty comprehending and expressing oral and written language, include difficulty following directions, difficulty grasping humor, difficulty interpreting social situations, difficulty with cause and effect, and difficulty with attention and focus.

While instructing a child through the Visualizing and Verbalizing program, consistent use of words such as picture, see, and imagine drive each lesson. The principle of questioning rather than telling is another primary component of this program. Repetitive, daily stimulation is recommended for success. Kids learn that “words turn into pictures and pictures turn into words.” How simple, yet BRILLIANT!

After “The Climate” for this new way of thinking is set for a child (Step 1), the Visualizing and Verbalizing steps begin with removing the visualizing piece and walking the child through the verbalizing piece (Step 2). At this point, the structure words I mentioned previously are introduced. Examples of the structure words include color, movement, background, and perspective. Here, a child learns to describe a given picture in a way that creates the same picture in his teacher’s mind.

The visualizing piece is added within Step 3 during which the child learns to make pictures in his mind of single words and clearly express these pictures. The child is then taught to visualize and verbalize with increasing complexity through progressive steps (Steps 4 through 10) involving single sentences, sets of sentences, whole paragraphs, and whole pages. As the text length increases, higher order language tasks are incorporated into the lessons.

A child’s independence, automaticity, and speed at which he processes spoken and written language steadily increases across the program. I love that there is a relationship built and trust developed between the teacher and the child which facilitates his growth and learning. Rewards and praise are ever present throughout each step.

As a Visualizing and Verbalizing provider, I am learning to improve my ability to ask relevant and appropriate questions to guide my students’ imagery skills. I am also learning to change my teaching vocabulary which in essence changes the process by which my students think. Nanci points out in the manual that we often assume everyone creates pictures for words in his mind. As you begin to question your children/students, you may find this simply is not the case. How encouraging to know there is a tool available to support our efforts to help our children think differently, in pictures!

Going through the Visualizing and Verbalizing steps with one student in particular has truly opened my eyes and taught me a little more about how he thinks. Part of putting the puzzle together, finding the right keys to unlock a student’s mind, is gaining understanding. I am grateful to have found a well-established program which enables me to do just this, and I am excited to see what doors the Visualizing and Verbalizing key opens on my quest to helping children develop their language skills.

For more information on Nanci Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing Program, please click here.

by Sheila, Contributing Writer

At three years old, Gia’s severe speech delay qualified her for services through our school district’s Priority Preschool. I was convinced that with a little extra help, she would catch right up and we would move on with our lives. I really believed that. Eight weeks, one progress report, and no new words later, Gia’s SLP broke the apraxia news.

This is a picture of Gia on her first day of Priority Preschool. This picture represents so many things and so many emotions. It was a simpler time, when apraxia wasn’t a part of our lives, but it was also a time filled with unanswered questions. I remember feeling scared when I took this picture.

Knowing what I know now, it’s clear to me why Gia’s pre-apraxia therapy didn’t make as much as a dent in her ability to communicate. Apraxia intervention is all about opening doors and making connections. The speech therapy Gia was receiving at preschool was knocking on those doors, saying, “Here’s some more vocabulary!”, only to get stuck inside with the rest of her words, trying to fight their way out.

There’s speech therapy, and then there’s SPEECH THERAPY.

This is my simplified way of describing the complicated treatment for an even more complicated disorder. When someone asks me what makes therapy for apraxia different, I tell them exactly that. It’s an exaggerated, intensified and overemphasized version of speech therapy.

Gia goes to a clinic in our area called the Foundations Developmental House (FDH). They practice the Speech-EZ method with hand cues, and this is the only method Gia has ever been exposed to. No matter what technique your child’s SLP may use, all approaches to apraxia will have roughly the same concept – drill, drill, repeat.

Once in a while I have an itch to educate myself and sit in on a session. I want to know what this “drill” therapy is all about. What makes apraxia therapy different, and what can I do to follow-up at home?

I want to share with you some of the highlights of a recent speech session I attended:

I took a lot of video during this session. I want to share a few to give you a small glimpse in to an apraxia therapy session and the Speech-EZ method.

In this first clip, Gia and Anna-Alyse are working on her beginning /f/ sound, and they later did the same work with an ending /f/ sound. They are naming the picture cards on the Speech-EZ APSC app and using the hand cues to make both the first and last sound of a one-syllable word. Anna-Alyse makes sure that both sounds are made before moving on.

Notice the feedback that Anna-Alyse gives Gia. This is an apraxia approach, showing knowledge of performance. You’ll hear her say things like, “I heard your /f/ sound!” or “I heard you fix your sound!”. She also shows Gia knowledge of accuracy. You’ll hear her say, “You got it right!” or “Nice job!”.

Click here to watch YouTube Video #1

This next clip shows another simple but effective approach to apraxia. It’s kind of a back-to-basics approach, and probably something many therapists don’t spend enough time on.

Gia and Anna-Alyse are working with a vowel circle. There is an /f/ in the center of the circle, with all of the vowel sound combinations surrounding it. They went around the circle sounding out the CV transition (“foo”, “fee”), and then did the circle a second time sounding out the VC transition (“oof”, “eef”). She has Gia do each combination three times, no matter if she got the sounds right the first time or not (drilling). You’ll notice Anna-Alyse continues to give Gia knowledge of accuracy.

Click here to watch YouTube Video #2

In this last video, Gia and Anna-Alyse are adding plurals to her words. Gia is given a visual to represent both the single and plural nature of something (one bear, four bears). There is an apraxia approach being taken here, but with a little language mixed in as well. It’s the perfect combination.

Anna-Alyse continues to encourage hand cues and accuracy of first and last sounds. She once again, is consistently using knowledge of performance and knowledge of accuracy.

Click here to watch YouTube Video #3

Aside from the obvious, there were three things that I unexpectedly came away with after observing this session:

  • The importance of the child and SLP relationship – Gia and Anna-Alyse have built an obvious rapport, and it was a beautiful thing to watch. They understood each other. I don’t think I fully appreciated how crucial this relationship is until I watched this session.
  • It’s not all about the “drills” – There’s still a place for traditional speech therapy. If your SLP is focusing only on the apraxia, then they’re doing your child a serious disservice. Language-based activities give your child the tools to bring their new words in to real life; outside of the therapy walls. Finding the right balance of speech and language is the key to success, and the sign of a good apraxia therapist.
  • The benefit of a multisensory approach – When I went back and watched all the video I took, I noticed the multiple senses that were tapped into throughout the session. It was like constant reinforcement coming from all different directions, working toward the same goals; a repertoire of see it, hear it, feel it, touch it. The benefits are clear.

I will never become a regular in Gia’s speech sessions. I want her to continue to build the confidence and independence that I saw emerging, without her mommy there trying to make it all better. But I would encourage everyone to do this from time to time. It keeps you involved and informed, and shows your child you are supporting them from the sidelines.

THANK YOU Sheila, Anna-Alyse, FDH, and Gia for sharing such VALUABLE information today!

To follow Sheila and Gia on their journey with apraxia, visit http://whatwouldgiasay.com.

More about Sheila … Hello! My name is Sheila, and I am a stay-at-home mom, living in the Arizona desert with my husband and two kids. My first born, Nicholas, is five years old and started Kindergarten this year. Just 12 months after my son was born, my daughter, Gia came in to our lives. She is now four years old and in her second year of Priority Preschool. Gia was diagnosed with apraxia of speech almost a year ago, as well as suspected sensory processing disorder. She also suffers from eczema and food allergies to all types of nuts and eggs. I continue to navigate through some other food intolerances. Gia is currently in speech therapy 3x/week, occupational therapy 2x/week, and music therapy 1x/week. I left my job and dedicated my life to my family and my daughter’s apraxia. Finding balance is always a challenge, but I try my best by taking a little time to do the things I love: running, crafting, and writing. I can be reached at sheilatufano@gmail.com.

“It’s complicated.” That’s what I’ve started replying when people ask, “What’s Jake allergic to?” I usually then follow-up with, “Technically he’s allergic to fish and peanut, but there’s a lot more to his situation.”


Allergy testing age 3

Regarding food, we have experienced it all. IgE anaphylactic-type allergies, intolerances, and we have even been three-year participants in the Great Gluten-Free Casein-Free (GFCF) Debate. Things were going along great in our regimented bubble free of six food groups (fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut, pork, egg, dairy, gluten) until the end of 2014 when minor allergy symptoms started popping up here and there … eczema, asthma, stuffy nose, red, itchy eyes, belly aches, and horrid gas. What?!? How can this be?

My first thought was that Jake’s diet is so limited that he’s eating the same foods repeatedly and is therefore, becoming intolerant to them. With this theory, came major mommy guilt. His allergy skin prick test last year showed that his IgE allergies had gone from seven to two and yet still, one year later, I hadn’t added any foods back out of fear … fear of false-negative test results, anaphylactic shock, change, learning disabilities, speech regression, uncertainty, and allergic reactions.

So. Much. Fear.

But now, in the wake of this new episode, a much worse feeling.


I could not wrap my brain around taking any more food out of his diet.

I spent six months wracking my brain trying to figure out what was causing his symptoms. At the beginning of the summer, I revisited a condition called histamine intolerance that I first heard about two years ago. I asked our allergist about it last summer and although he admitted that “sure, that’s a possibility,” histamine intolerance is only a diagnosis that is given in Germany, Austria, the UK, and Canada. (1)

When I looked closer at the food list of typical culprits – those high in histamine and/or those that release histamine stored in mast cells – I was blown away. Many of these things were already out of Jake’s diet because of past allergic reactions: liver, vinegar, pineapple, most tomato products (organic ketchup and spaghetti sauce), processed, ready-to-eat food (Pop-Tarts), certain types of cheese, most hot dogs except for Hebrew National, beef/turkey jerky, and pumpkin. What was even more interesting was that the remainder of these foods – ketchup, chocolate, oranges, bananas, hot dogs, canned food, refrigerated leftovers, and food dyes – were now a HUGE part of his regular diet. (1)

Could histamine intolerance possibly be the answer to our six-month allergy epidemic?

As a test, in June I removed these foods from his diet and within 24 hours ALL of his symptoms were 100 percent gone. Gone! Overnight the broken skin on his heel literally fused back together! No more chronic stuffy nose at bedtime for the first time in his life! I waited a few weeks and tested a few primary suspects again, and yep, the minor symptoms returned.

Histamine is not just a bad guy that causes pesty allergy symptoms to develop. It has many positive roles as well and is believed to be involved in 23 physiological functions. I found it particularly fascinating that histamine is released as a neurotransmitter. (2) According to Brain Facts, “Whether it is learning a new fact or deciding which way to move, tasks executed by our brains rely on the smooth and efficient release of neurotransmitters, chemicals that send messages from one brain cell to another.”

Part of ASHA’s definition of childhood apraxia of speech is, “The brain has problems planning to move the body parts needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.”

I also found it interesting that it is “suggested that histamine controls the mechanisms by which memories and learning are forgotten.” (2) Upon discovering this, I remembered the words that Jake’s apraxia specialist told me two years ago, “If you fix the memory, you fix the apraxia.”

And so I formed a hypothesis … an educated mommy guess. Could histamine intolerance also have played a role in his apraxia?

Is this why Jake was such an excellent responder to diet intervention? Remember, three months after he started a clean, unprocessed, GFCF diet, supplements, and Speech-EZ, he spoke his first words at 4.3 years old. He went from silent to testing out of apraxia a year later. And it wasn’t just the speech that improved, it was his entire demeanor. No more fidgeting – squirming around like he had ants in his pants – no more grueling hours of speech therapy with a brain that couldn’t grasp the challenge of communication.

I think his recovery was probably due to a combination of everything during that time, but I do wonder if taking out some of the big histamine players that I was unaware of at the time were enough to at least tilt the scales of recovery.

After reading everything I could get my hands on regarding this condition along with the dramatic improvement of Jake’s symptoms, I knew I must look into this further. I set out looking for someone to help me.

First, I found Dr. Theoharides, an expert out of Boston. I was particularly interested in his work because he is studying the effect of high-histamine levels on speech. He has videos and testimonials of children with autism speaking after their histamine load was lowered with NeuroProtek, a product made from the three flavonoids luteolin, quercetin, and rutin. I emailed him our story, but never got a response back.

Then, I contacted Dr. Joneja out of Canada. Although she is researching full-time and not taking on new clients, she recommend me to Wendy Busse, a dietician who assists people with allergies, intolerances, and specifically histamine intolerance.

One week later I was Skyping with Wendy. I learned more from her in our 1 hour and 45 minute appointment than I have in six years from pediatricians, allergists, and dermatologists. She created a plan for us to add foods back into Jake’s diet, while keeping histamine-rich foods out. So far we have successfully added back pork chops and mozzarella cheese with no side effects.

I am excited about this potential breakthrough.

I have always known Jake was more than “just” a food allergy kid because his reactions are so sporadic, extensive, and not just limited to food. Fortunately he does not have seasonal allergies, but he is hyper-sensitive to scents, cleaners, hygiene products, and the ocean.

Knowledge is power. I can cope with his condition, but I have to know what it is first. I have spent years feeling paranoid because his reactions are so random. So, imagine what it feels like to finally be able to connect the dots! Also, this discovery will hopefully allow Jake to eat more food in the long run. Yes, out of the gate we are taking a few more foods out, but at the same time, the foods that we are able to potentially add back in are huge.

Histamine intolerance is definitely tricky though. For example, Jake should be able to tolerate a majority of dairy products, but aged cheese and yogurt may cause problems. Something like a plum or peach may not cause symptoms if it is fresh off the vine, but as it ripens and the histamine level increases, it may evoke reactions. He may be able to eat a pork chop, but not pork sausage or bacon because of the way it is processed. He may be able to eat vanilla ice cream, but not chocolate or a popsicle made with dyes. He may be able to tolerate gluten, but things with a high yeast content may spark a reaction. And then, sometimes a food eaten by itself is fine, but eating two, three, or four histamine foods in a day might cause symptoms (bucket theory).

For us, histamine intolerance means that if Jake overloads on histamine foods, he may have asthma, belly issues, red/itchy eyes, and eczema. If he has one of these things – like chocolate or an orange – he just gets stuffy. Ketchup and banana have been the only foods that have made immediate, more problematic symptoms appear.

iphoto glass

Photo inspired from “Working With Histamine Overload,” a slide show by Tiffany Blackden.

Despite the negatives of histamine intolerance, learning about it has been fascinating. I look forward to future research on the relationship of histamine with speech. It is also an interesting philosophy to me that people who have seasonal allergies may benefit from a reduced histamine diet during pollen/ragweed season and that the very med we take for allergies – antihistamines  – alter our DAO enzyme production. (3)

In conclusion, what IF histamine intolerance was Jake’s underlying problem all along? And what IF those allergy symptoms returned this year because the root cause was misdiagnosed this whole time?

My biggest prayer would be for the histamine intolerance to replace the gluten, casein, and pork intolerances, which were taken out due to our ALCAT results in 2012. I also pray that histamine intolerance is not a lifelong condition for him. Again, it is all reliant on the enzyme (DAO) I mentioned above, which can either replenish itself once histamine is out of the diet or is available via supplementation. I can handle the peanut and fish IgE allergies, but I do hope they become less severe. My biggest fear is that histamine intolerance, which often comes with other allergies, will be an addition to the gluten and casein intolerance. We can take it, but it will make my heart hurt. Only time will tell.

Right now, I am working on widening Jake’s diet and trying my best each day to focus on the positive. And there is much to be thankful for. As long as my boy is in his allergy-free bubble he is 100 percent awesome.



  1. “What HIT Me? Living with Histamine Intolerance” by Genny Masterman, 2013. 
  2. “Histamine,” Wikipedia. 
  3. “DAO Enzymes and Histamine Intolerance,” by Dr. David Jockers, Natural News

All remaining source links provided above.

Head over to the What Would Gia Say blog to register for a giveaway for the new version of the Speech-EZ app – the improvements sound awesome!

For those of you who have been readers of mine for a while, you know how much I love this product and concept. Hand cues were *key* in helping Jake find his voice. In fact, I still use hand cues even though Jake is out of apraxia. For example, I still hear him sometimes mixing up /t/ and /d/ sounds in speech and I’ll also catch him spelling words with these sounds wrong. By correcting his speech/spelling with a hand cue, he is able to really *get* what I am explaining. It is such a fabulous tool!

Also, yesterday our neighbor was over playing with Jake. He is a few months younger, but it also going into first grade. I’m not sure what his speech diagnosis is, but he says many things incorrectly. All summer he’s been replacing the /l/ sound for /w/ when asking for something. “Can I have water ‘PWEASE!!!” So just for kicks, I showed him my “magic” hand cue yesterday for /l/ and explained, “This will be here for you and will help you say words that you have a hard time with.” Let me tell you people … he said it correctly for the first time all summer!!! On the first try! A beautiful, perfect “PLEASE!”

Click here to link up to the What Would Gia Say blog and to read a full review of the new Speech-EZ app.

This post is an oldie, but a goodie. It is from two years ago when Jake was heading off to Pre-K 4.

I hope this set of resources will ease your nerves a bit and give you some ideas for how to best transition into the school year.

Click here to read “Back to School Resources.”

by Amber, Contributing Writer

When we started speech therapy, one of the first things they did was teach Cason sign language. I immediately had a “Duh!” moment. Of course he should do sign language! Why hadn’t I been doing that all along?

When my daughter was little, I taught her a few signs. When I taught Pre-K, I taught my students sign language. Why hadn’t I been teaching sign language to Cason?

Children with apraxia understand what is being communicated, but aren’t always able to effectively communicate back, which causes frustrations. We had a lot of frustrations going on with communication, on his part and on mine. He would become frustrated because I didn’t understand his needs and wants. I would become frustrated because I didn’t understand him. The result was a lot of crying, and sometimes the crying came from both of us.

Before introducing sign language, we would play a “game” of 20 questions. I call it a game, but it was anything but that. It was just me going down a list of things I thought he may be trying to say. “Do you want milk? Do you want to eat? Do you want your cars? Do you want the monkey? Do you want_____?” He would start crying when he wanted/needed something, and I couldn’t guess what it was.

He couldn’t point to what he wanted (that was a delayed skill). He would start crying and that would be my cue that he needed something. Now, if he was an infant, then crying would be a normal cue for communicating a need. But Cason was over 18 months old and really needed to be able to communicate in a more effective way. Sign language was our lifesaver during that time. But we did run into some problems.

When we started sign language, we started with the sign for “more.” After a week or so, he was able to make that sign. The next word I wanted him to learn was “milk.” I felt it was important for him to learn that word in sign language because it would help with his frustration level when trying to communicate with me when he was thirsty.

We started trying to learn the sign for milk, but that sign took a while to learn. The sign is to open and close your hand, kind of as though you are milking a cow. Cason had problems getting his fingers to work, and it turned out to be another motor planning issue.

He would hold his hand out, look at it, and his fingers would start to kind of twitch. I knew his brain was telling them to open and close. I knew he was wanting them to open and close. However, the brain and hand just couldn’t seem to get on the same page. Finally, after quite a while, he figured it out.

We continued to teach him more signs and sometimes ran into the same motor planning problems. For the most part, he was able to pick up the signs fairly quickly. We also bought the Signing Time DVDs. Those were awesome!

I had a few people express concerns when we started sign language. They were afraid if Cason learned to sign, he would choose to do that rather than learn to talk. However, that is rarely the case when a child is learning sign language. Cason wanted to talk, and the desire to do so was strong. Sign language just gave him an alternative way to communicate while his brain was still figuring out speaking.

We actually found that when he started learning signs, he also started trying to vocalize the words. For example, when he signed milk, he would say “mmmm.” When he signed eat, he would say “eeeee.” Those were such big steps, and it gave us something to build on. He gradually progressed to saying “mih” for milk while he signed.

As the words started coming over the next year, the signs started fading for Cason. We starting using signs with his brother, Callen (three years old and currently in speech therapy), and now we do sign language with our youngest, Caden, who will start speech therapy next week (at 19 months old).

Sign language has been a huge part of our life during the past five years. I always encourage mothers of infants to start sign language early. It is so helpful, and it’s something the whole family can get involved in and learn.

How many of you have tried sign language with your apraxic kids?

What was your experience like? We’d love to hear your story.


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