Kelly Dorfman presented one of my favorite all-time apraxia analogies in the book “What’s Eating Your Child?” She correlates that learning how to speak is a lot like learning a fancy dance routine. Some people are naturals … from day one, the moves come easy and they require minimal practice. But for others, the twists, turns, and dips are far from second nature and they have to do the routine over and over again before they finally get the motor movements right.
But, eventually, guess what? I think we all know how this story ends. Once a person’s feet finally learn the routine, they are able to pull off the dance beautifully. Yes, some are still “better” than others, but all have their own version of best.
When I read this analogy two years ago, it made me view apraxia differently. This simple comparison changed how I reacted to the sometimes daily face plants of speech errors/regression and even how I coped with the victories. The stumbles and falls didn’t seem so overwhelming because my focus was on the end result. The progressions that sometimes seemed to take forever, eventually came – step by step – through repetition and practice.
I leave you today with two challenges:
1.) Watch the video of Amy Purdy’s 2014 final performance on Dancing With The Stars and then read this article. Why do you think this winter Olympics medalist who lost her legs was able to evoke such deep emotion in people? What made her so special? Why do you think there wasn’t a dry eye in the room that night?
2.) Grab a partner – whether it be a husband, boyfriend, friend, child, or pet – and challenge yourself to learning an improvised (or advanced!) version of the dance in Ed Sheeran’s video of “Thinking Out Loud.” Love. This. Song. If you have a man in your life, he’ll probably be zeroing in on the girl dancing around in a negligee dress, but ignore him. Stay focused. Are you a natural? Do you think there would be a possibility you could pull off this routine if you practiced every day? Did you get frustrated? Do you laugh at your mistakes? Isn’t it really hard to keep up?!?
Happy Valentine’s Day! May your weekend be filled with faith, hope, and love.