Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

Tori is the author of the blog Jake’s Journey, which documents her son’s journey with childhood apraxia of speech. The blog ran with the help of contributing writers from 2012 to 2016. During this time, Tori also wrote articles for various special needs websites to raise awareness for apraxia. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, she worked in the telecom field before becoming a stay at home mom and returning to writing. She is currently working on a women’s fiction novel, which (fingers crossed) should be ready for submission by the end of 2016. She lives in the suburbs with her husband, two sons, and Faith, a spunky golden doodle.

JAKE’S JOURNEY ACCOLADES

“Top 25 Speech Pathology Websites for 2015 and 2016,” Kidmunicate.

“17 Apraxia Resources for Concerned Parents,” Friendship Circle blog.

“Parent Apraxia Blogs,” Apraxia Kids via Pinterest.

“Getting the Word Out on Apraxia”

WRITING AROUND THE WEB 

“Struggling with Apraxia,” Special Ed Dishin’ blog, January 2012.

“An Interview with Jake’s Journey – A Mom’s Experience with Apraxia,” Speech Buddies blog

“The Apraxia Path,” SpecialNeeds.com

“A Mother Describes Her Son’s Journey with Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” SpeakinMotion blog, May 2013.

“Jake Says the Lord’s Prayer,” Speaking of Apraxia blog, April 2014.

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33 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Susie Cates says:

    I connected with your comments above. My son was also diagnosed with CAS at the age of 3 and we had battled many of the same issues as your sweet son has. I can tell you that my son at the age of 5 is now so much more understandable by those who interact with him any amount of time. My son had no language at 2 1/2 and now says so much! I pray that your son progresses quickly. Good luck!

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thanks so much Susie! I love, love hearing success stories.

  2. Wavolyn Shelton says:

    Hi, my name is Wavolyn and like you I have a child with Aprexia. My William is 4 and we were diagnosed when he was 2. William is doing awesome now, after a long battle with “trying to find his voice”, I would love to encourage you and be of a listening ear to you if you need me..to be honest, i googled Aprexia and moms this afternoon and I found your site. Let me know if you need anything, I live in VA, and to be honest I totally related to what you were saying in your blog today..I was there not too long ago, and now my William has to be reminded that we don’t always have to be talking…what an awesome reminder of where he has been and how long this process took..If you need a listening eat let me know. ~Wavolyn Shelton

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thanks for your thoughtfulness and your encouragement. I love, love, love hearing success stories!

  3. Margaret Williams says:

    Hi. Just popping to let you know we will following this journey with abated interest, now that we find ourselves In a similar position. We enjoy the the research you have done and will follow through on the links provided. Thanks again for having this out there for people like ourselves to try to understand what we are face with. God bless. Margaret.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Hi Margaret! Thanks for your comments and I’m so glad that you are able to use some of the information that I share. Take care!

  4. Jessica says:

    Our lives seem very parallel! I have a 15 year old, a 7 year old, a 2 &1/2 with apraxia, and an 11 week old. My 3 older children all have food allergies (hopefully the baby is in the clear, but I’m not betting money on it), everything from milk, peanuts, and tree nuts to shellfish, onions, and melons. I’ve read many of your posts and it seems as if I could have written them myself. I just wanted to say hi, introduce myself, and let you know I too am on this journey. I hope to get back to my own blogging, as I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus since the birth of my 4th and final boy. I look forward to reading your future posts! Ta-ta for now;)

    1. tstarmom says:

      Wow! Can’t imagine an 11 month old & 3 allergic kids thrown into the mix right now! I’m so glad that you took a moment to stop in to say hi and to share your story. We do have a lot in common! Most moms don’t have kids at such different ages. It definitely makes things a lot more interesting. Take care and have a good rest of the week-

  5. Lou says:

    My son also named Jake will be going to the Thompson Center on Monday, the day before his 3rd birthday. His SLP believes that he has apraxia and the Thompson Center should be able to confirm or deny it. What advice can you give me? What kinds of questions should I ask at our visit?

    1. tstarmom says:

      Sounds too familiar! My Jake got diagnosed with apraxia the day before his third birthday after our regular SLP suspected apraxia also. Please refer to my blog post “Questions to Ask a SLP if Your Child has Apraxia” (https://jakes-journey-apraxia.com/2012/02/01/questions-to-ask-a-slp-if-your-child-has-apraxia/). That should help a lot. The information in that post is actually what I learned three months after his diagnosis. I wish I would have asked those questions to an apraxia specialist from the beginning. But, it was a “live and learn” experience!

      If he has apraxia, my biggest recommendation would be to find someone who is an apraxia expert who uses Kaufman cards and either PROMPT or hand cues. Those things have been huge turning point for us. Also, working with him as much as possible at home. I give lots of ideas on my blog b/c Jake is always getting bored with his homework!

      Best of luck to you and keep me posted!

  6. Sophia says:

    Thank you for your amazing blog. My little guy turns two this Monday, but was just diagnosed as having apraxia. As a mom I’ve been going crazy trying to do anything and everything to turn his voice on. He is really trying to say words-says sounds but can’t put them together and if by chance he utters a word once it is gone the next day-no matter how much I try to practice and repeat the same word over again. We have started speech therapy twice a week, but I was wondering if you have any suggestion on what worked with your little guy early on. At 2 was Jake saying anything-babbling, sounds, or word approximations?

    1. tstarmom says:

      Sophia- First off, thanks for the nice complement! I’m glad you are getting some helpful ideas from my blog. How great that you were able to get an apraxia diagnosis at age two & that you are starting therapy two times a week. Consider yourself lucky!

      When Jake was two, he only had at best five words and was overall very quiet. He didn’t even babble much. He communicated by pulling me around, pointing to things, and grunting. Once in a blue moon, we would get a word/words, but then would never hear it again.

      My biggest recommendation would be to get an apraxia specialist, the best you can find, who uses Kaufman cards and either PROMPT or hand cues to help the words come out easier. No two SLPs are the same, so follow your gut and find someone who you are seeing results with.

      Although I cannot go back in time to see if these things would have worked at age two, I feel very strongly that he could have handled it even though he was younger. (He started all of this at age three).

      Also, work with him as much as possible at home and make speech therapy part of your every day routine. I am still working on this b/c it is a lifestyle change for sure! I got the DVD “Baby Babble”early on and felt that it felt really helped him. I blogged about it a couple of months ago if you want to read more about it.

      Last, you must, must, must get Leslie Lindsay’s new book “Speaking of Apraxia.” I’m halfway through it and it is excellent. It is written by a mom who has a child with apraxia and it’s very comprehensive and gives information about therapy as well as things to do with your child at home. I’m doing a review on it mid-May with a giveaway, so if you don’t get it before then, be sure to check back!

  7. spenniemama says:

    I love your site and was brought to tears when hearing your son’s story our son is three and a half and just started to get some words we are doing speech, resource teacer, OT and anything I can get my hands on to without going broke. Thank you for giving all of us a forum to relay info and get some much needed understanding!

  8. salarsen says:

    It’s great to meet you, Tori! Thanks for the follow on Twitter. I’m following you there and here, now. I’m leaving you a link to an article I wrote about my son’s experience. http://apraxia-kids.blogspot.com/2012/01/early-advocacy-made-difference.html

    Thanks you for making the connection with me.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Hi Sheri! I loved the article that you wrote and I’m so glad that you’re son is doing so much better now. I am hopeful that our time will come too, but it’s just such a slow process. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Great blog, glad to have found it. My toddler is in speech therapy and found you by googling looking for feedback on the baby babble series. Thanks for the informative blog posts, though our diagnoses may be different, I find your blog very helpful!

    1. tstarmom says:

      I loved that first Baby Babble video & I’m on the waiting list for the 2nd one at the library right now. Glad you stopped by!

  10. Holly says:

    Tori, Thank you so much for sharing your story. My daughter has recently been diagnosed with CAS. (She is almost 4) It’s been a spectrum of emotions. I appreciate all your well organized information and experiences. Thank you. I am praying for our kids 🙂 Love your Pinterest pages.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I always love to hear from parents who have a child Jake’s age. We can all learn so much from each other! Yes, definitely a spectrum of emotions in dealing with apraxia. Take care!

  11. Debra says:

    My son is so close to Jake’s age (August 2008 birthday). I’m so glad I found your site. It’s refreshing to see someone who understands. Everyone tells me that my son will talk just give it time. Ha! It’s a lot of work! We’ve made progress but still have a ways to go! I’m excited with the prognosis though! My son WILL Succeed! I will not let him fail!

  12. David Ozab says:

    My daughter Anna is seven now. She was diagnosed with apraxia in October 2008 and began speech therapy the following January. I talk about her a lot on my blog (fatherhoodetc.com) and even more in the book I wrote about her that I’m pitching to agents right now. I’ve also reviewed Leslie Lindsay’s “Speaking of Apraxia” and been interviewed on her site. Like most parents, I had no idea what apraxia was before Anna’s diagnosis and had no idea where to turn for support. That’s why I’m a big believer in building a support community, sharing our stories, and helping each other out. I’m glad I discovered your blog and will continue to follow your journey with Jake. Keep in touch!

  13. tstarmom says:

    David – Thanks for stopping by! How exciting that you wrote a book about your daughter’s story. Best of luck in finding representation. Publishing a book is on my bucket list and I know from experience how much love and work goes into creating a manuscript. Maybe you could self-publish? I look forward to hearing about the process in your blog. Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. kurtgael@gmail.com says:

    Hi Tori! My son Jacob has just started the evaluation/diagnosis process and we were told it is Apraxia. He is 21 months old and as we near his 2nd birthday, we still have not heard any words or even mama. I am new to this disorder and I am hopeful for the future. Your blog is inspiring and I look forward to hearing more about your Jake’s journey and progress. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Rebekah says:

    Hi Tori, I just stumbled across your blog while researching different therapy methods for childhood apraxia. I am currently in my last year of graduate school, studying to be an SLP. I have been interning this semester at a grade school, and have a student on my caseload who has CAS, and I just wanted to let you know that reading a few of your posts has been so encouraging for me. Every day I see kids come in to therapy who have completely disinterested parents. These children never get help or encouragement at home, and that is a massive hindrance in their ability to overcome whatever speech or language challenges they’re facing. It was just really great for me to see how much you are committed to helping your son, and that you’re not just leaving it up to the SLP, but are advocating for what you know works for him and what doesn’t.

    I feel like I’m rambling here, but long story short–this is exactly what I needed to read on a Sunday night while making lesson plans for the week ahead. Thank you!

  16. Ally says:

    Hi Tori,
    Just started ST for my 26 month old son and SLP is leaning toward CAS diagnosis. So glad to have found your blog. So inspirational and helpful.
    SLP is using Kaufman and he is making good progress. I think he would also respond well to speech ez hand cues. Could I learn them by only purchasing the parent manual or would I need the full kit?

    1. tstarmom says:

      Ally, Welcome! So sorry for the late reply! You can either purchase the entire app, which includes the flashcards and hand cues or there is a Speech-EZ app that just does the hand cues, which cost about $20 I think. The parent manual has the cues and lots of good info in it also.

  17. Laura Martin says:

    So incredibly happy to have found your blog!! I, too, am the mom of a son with apraxia (in addition to a hearing loss) and multiple food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, strawberries, pineapple, and a multitude of medications). Look forward to reading more!

    1. tstarmom says:

      Hey Laura, I checked out your blog and think we may live in the same state? Would love to talk to you more. I am working on a big food allergy update series right now behind the scenes. I’m hoping it actually makes it to the blog since it is taking me forever to write! You’re the first pineapple allergy I’ve ever heard of (that is one of Jake’s too). Sorry you also have soy allergy to deal with. I try to limit soy in Jake’s diet, but that is a tough one. I hate that it is in a vast majority of the food. Let’s email soon. 🙂

  18. kpanfile says:

    Hello. I was introduced to your blog through an acquaintance and am just beginning our journey with apraxia and hypotonia after coming out the other side of a birth defect called craniosynostosis. It feels like a relief to have found a group of women who have gone through this before me and may have insight from a parent’s perspective.

    1. Tori says:

      Welcome! So sorry for the trials with your child. I will be re-formatting the blog over the next month or so to make it easier for people to navigate through. Wishing you blessings in your child’s healing journey.

  19. Hi Tori,

    I am contacting you on behalf of Chicago Speech Therapy.

    We are a pediatric speech clinic in Chicago founded by Karen George, MS, CCC-SLP.

    Our staff and Karen are advocates for the field and are big fans of your website! We appreciate the resources you provide. When we see a leader in the field we like to reach out and promote them to our contacts and followers. We recently published a new book called Getting into the Speech Grad Program of Your Dreams and listed your site in the resource section of the book.

    We would like to send you a free copy of the book. To receive this, please reply with a full mailing address and we will send you the book.

    To learn more about the book, see the links below:
    http://www.chicagospeechtherapy.com/free-chapter/

    Feel free to call us with any questions!

    Sincerely,
    Rebecca Glover
    Chicago Speech Therapy
    Practice Associate
    773-673-0100

  20. holly says:

    Hi Jakes Mom! I have been reading various posts of your blog as I am a mother with a child with Apraxia. She is almost 7 and been in ST since age 2 but still struggles. She does talk but also has a stutter and an inability with some sounds. I was so happy to read about you and Jake completing this journey it was so inspiring! My question is to summarize what was the biggest help to overcome Jake on this struggle? I know he was challenged with many food allergies do you think the modified diet was a big turning point? Supplementation? Therapy? I am just worried as my daughter is almost 7 and lately I feel we have had a setback with progress and I am looking to answers to possibly maybe fill in a missing link I may have overlooked. Thank you for your time!

    1. Tori says:

      So sorry for the late reply Holly! I honestly think Jake’s progress was the combination of many different approaches. The “official” turning point for us was hand cues, diet, and supplementation. I hit it hard from every direction and was very strict with all of it. Three months later he started speaking and about nine months later he tested out of apraxia, although we remained in speech therapy for a period of time after that just to be proactive with auditory processing. I still think diet matters. Jake is about to be 9 and I am still very regimented with his diet. He makes excellent grades, is social, and no attention issues. I think I will try to eventually add some of the food back, but would do so very gradually. Yes, the diet piece of it is hard. BUT, you just weigh your options – the better of the 2 evils. Speech therapy, etc. OR taking the extra time to cook, chop, etc. I have stopped writing in my blog, but will post if we add things back and what the result is. It’s ultimately all trial and error unfortunately and we as mothers, most rely on our gut instinct and follow our heart. Best of luck to you and your daughter! Prayers for her healing.

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