Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

Jake began kindergarten in August and turned six on September 9th. He is one of the older kids in the class and having an extra year of speech and fine motor development made all the difference in the world.

I am happy to report that Jake is doing really well in a neurotypical classroom. He is showing no signs of learning problems like dyslexia or ADHD that sometimes accompany apraxia. His focus/attention is good and ironically enough, he is catching on to reading better than my other two boys did.

Reading

Raz-Kids is the online reading program his school uses for at-home practice and I love it for the following reasons:

  • Repetition of key words in each story.
  • Great visuals!
  • Questions at the end of the story. (Memory-building skills)

raz kids

Narrative writing & penmanship

Jake is struggling in narrative writing. Kids in kindergarten write stories about real topics like a place they have visited, a favorite Christmas memory, etc. It doesn’t surprise me that Jake is having trouble in this area because it is a brain explosion for him.

After all, a little over a year ago, he couldn’t even answer basic /w/ questions like, “What did you eat for breakfast?” It makes perfect sense to me that a deeper, more thought-intensive question now would be difficult for him.

Consider the brain work that goes on in this activity:

  1. Come up with a topic and arrange it into sentences. (Yikes! What about all that apraxia word scrambling?!?)
  2. Spell each word by sounding it out. (Recall / memory skills)
  3. Write each letter. (Hold on to the letter in your brain for long enough to then be able to recall how to write it.)

It was interesting to me that although Jake’s handwriting is near perfect when copying words off the board, it is horrible when he writes stories. When his teacher showed me his first stories, I was shocked at how terrible his penmanship was. I suppose by the time all those thought processes occur, the end result is a mess.

It reminded me of when he could expertly mimic all of the Kaufman words, but if he tried to recall the word on his own by looking at the picture, there was blank silence. The breakdown in the mental process of getting from Point A to B and finally to C was lost.

kindergarten

Mixing up voiceless /t/ and voiced /d/ in writing

This problem parallels one of my biggest takeaways from our intensive with Lynn Carahaly … it is vital for kids with apraxia to have a strong voice to ear, ear to brain connection. They must be able to not only say the word correctly, but also really understand the nitty-gritty details of letters and the sounds they make. If this skill is not given some extra TLC, apraxic kids will probably spell the word as they say it.

I really worked a lot on this skill, especially with Lynn’s Target Sound Identification app, but obviously there is still a little bit of a disconnect. Fortunately, from a phonics viewpoint, we are just having trouble with those two letters. I correct it with a hand cue both in his writing and speech and know he eventually will get it.

Consistent speech errors

  • Puts “ing” on the end of words instead of “ed.” (I am exciting vs. I am excited).
  • Incorrect word order when asking questions. (What that is?)

Yes, I cue him on the mistakes. Yes, we work on it. No, this skill is still not clicking after about a year of practice. But, it took us 1.5 years to master proper pronoun usage and I know eventually it will come.

Homework

  • Twenty minutes of reading per week.
  • Spelling test with six words. (We practice M,T,W,Th)
  • Daily, quick math activity.

The weekly newsletter from his teacher (who I love!) tells me what phonics skills they are working on. I typically review this with Jake on Thursday for about five minutes. We work on story writing about two times a week for thirty minute sessions.

Do you have a child about to enter kindergarten?

Is your child in kindergarten this year? What’s your experience been like?

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7 thoughts on “Apraxia … What to Expect When You’re Expecting Kindergarten

  1. witness1615 says:

    wow! All I can say is they expect a LOT out of a Kindergartner! I homeschooled my 4 others and K was used to learn to identify letters and sounds, begin to learn to print them, begin reading short vowel words, but definitely not writing topics/paragraphs by themselves. I may have had them tell me a story that they wanted to send in a letter to Grandma, and then I wrote down what they said, but that’s it. I am just saddened at how fast they push typical kids these days. Do the pushing in high school is what I think. Anyway, I am glad Jake is doing well for the most part. We will start K at home this coming year and our apraxic child will be 6 in March. We also took the extra year of help and developing fine motor, which still needs time. I’ve been working on preschool things w/ her…learning to identify alphabet, practicing writing her name, going through a book on basic concepts and seeing what she doesn’t understand and what needs more work and of course, lots of speech practice. We still have /th/, /ch/, /r/ and a few other sounds yet to grasp.

    So thanks for sharing. It’s encouraging to hear how well he is doing.

    1. Thanks for sharing your situation. I’m glad your daughter will be six starting kindergarten. I think it makes a lot of sense to give these kids an extra year. Home schooling will also give you so much more flexibility to focus on things that will be more of a struggle. Yes, I think the intensity of the K work is a lot. I actually used the word “shocker” next to narrative writing, but it didn’t make the final edit! As I mentioned I have 2 older boys and don’t remember it being like that. But, my boys are all spaced five years apart, so I tend to forget the details! 🙂

  2. naomi says:

    I’m so glad to hear Jake is doing well in Kindergarten. I agree with another poster that they do push a lot more these days. My older son is 1st grade and he has homework everyday and requires so much parent involvement. I don’t remember my parents helping me with any homework when I was young … Aaron will be in Kindergarten in the fall and I wish he had extra year to prepare for.

    Thank you for sharing. It’s always good to read about Jake’s progress!

  3. Amber says:

    So happy Jake is doing so well! And I love RAZ. I used it when I taught school and have used it here and there with Cason. I’m kind of holding off on officially starting school with him until he’s 6 (he has an August birthday), but he is already showing interest in reading so I pulled out some of the RAZ books I printed years ago. As for the writing….I love that “shocker” was in your rough draft. After teaching pre-K and 1st grade (and it’s been 6 years), I’m not surprised they are pushing that in Kinder, but at the same time it did surprise me. Ha!

  4. Susan says:

    My son was diagnosed with apraxia and dyslexia. We were lucky because of early intervention. I knew something was wrong by the time he was turning 3 and still didn’t speak. Intelligence was not the problem…my Dr. Kept pushing it off saying my older son was speaking for him and then they thought it was his hearing. MOMS know. Drs should listen more to us. I was lucky being a nurse….I knew a speech therapist that referred me to Easter Seals which got me in the right direction. As he got older his speech was unintelligable. Kids thought he was from another country. As a parent it broke my heart to have to send him on the “short bus” to school because I knew intellectually he was a brillant child. Dyslexia and Apraxia is not a learning disability… It’s just that they learn differently He was enrolled in a specialized communication class. He received services up until 11th grade. I don’t believe he will ever be a public speaker…I still have problems understanding him at times…. But he will make an incredible engineer. His father had dyslexia and graduated top of his engineering class
    . And I’m proud to say my son is following in his father’s footsteps attaining a 3.95 GPA for his 1st year at college. There are ways to compensate for reading skills…especially today. He listens to books…uses his memory …and excells. The key is learning these skills to compensate. Apraxia and dyslexia are not learning disabilities. Their brains just process information differently. Any parent that reads this and thinks…this is my kid…persevere…. There is hope and they can have bright futures. Learning how to compensate is the key.

    1. Jen says:

      This made me smile. Thanks for posting. (Mom of a 5 year old with apraxia, headed off to kindergarten next year.)

  5. Lynn says:

    Have any of you had issues with kids making fun of your child’s speech problems? Our kindergartener is being made fun of and hates kindergarten so much he makes himself sick stressing out about kids making fun of him. Any advice would be appreciated!

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