This post initially published on the Speaking of Apraxia blog. I shared it to give parents hope.
My son Jake was diagnosed with apraxia of speech at age three and has been in speech therapy since he was 27 months old.
Jake began Pre-K 4 this year at our local church preschool and one month later turned five years old. When he first started school, his teacher explained that the class would be learning color-of-the-month songs and also The Lord’s Prayer, which they would recite each day in class
At the time, Jake could not memorize multiple words in songs or nursery rhymes. He would try, but the order of the words would always become jumbled. I told the teacher that I would work with Jake every day in order to learn the color songs and that *maybe* by the end of each month, he would be able to sing it.
After all, I’d been dealing with apraxia for about three years at that point. I knew he could get it, but it would take a lot of practice to get there.
But, I didn’t even attempt to set goals or make promises to learn The Lord’s Prayer. How would a child who couldn’t sing the simplest of songs ever be able to learn such a lengthy and difficult piece?
A few weeks into school, Jake surprised me by coming home singing the first color song. He had learned it all on his own, just like the other kids! Wow! But I still didn’t commit to learning the prayer; I thought it was impossible.
One night about two months, later Jake shocked me again by saying this very special prayer in its entirety before he went to sleep. My boy has said this prayer many times over the past few months and each time it brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart beam with happiness and appreciation.
Last month, Jake started playing t-ball and my husband is the coach of the team. Because we are a church league, we pray at the end of each game. After the game, my husband called me out onto the field and surprised me by asking Jake to pray in front of both teams and the audience.
Jake’s confident voice filling the silence at the busy ballpark was one of the most remarkable moments of my life. It stirred emotion from deep within my soul and each word was golden. We fought for each and every one of those syllables that was so eloquently spoken that day.
Who would have thought that a child who could not speak until a few months after his fourth birthday would now, a little over a year later, be saying those beautiful words? This prayer signifies our full circle with apraxia: healing, love, joy, faith, tears, and determination.