Laura Smith was a speech-language pathologist, mostly in elementary education, before her children were born. After her daughter was born, she realized that she wasn’t reaching her developmental milestones. She crawled and walked late and feeding, dressing, and speech were also delayed. When her daughter was diagnosed with apraxia, she focused her professional interest on learning everything she could about it and started her private practice specializing in childhood apraxia.

For many parents, the diagnosis of apraxia feels devastating. They wonder if their child will ever speak. What does the future hold? It’s normal to feel sad and to grieve and there should be no guilt about having these feelings. Once you have a diagnosis, you can have a plan.

Early Signs of Apraxia:

  • Lack of babbling – a quiet baby.
  • Vowel sounds but a lack of consonants.
  • Lack of a word by age one.
  • Pop-out words – words that a child says a handful of times and then never says again.
  • Word sounds morph into other word sounds.
  • A “go-to” sound – a sound that is frequently repeated.

How to find an appropriate therapist:

  • Search on Apraxia-Kids.org for a therapist in your area.
  • Find a therapist through The Prompt Institute.
  • Ask the right questions using the list on SLPMommyofApraxia.com.

Resources for speech therapists and parents:

  • Apraxia-Kids.org is full of articles and on-demand webinars.
  • Dr. Strand’s free online course, Diagnosis and Treatment of CAS, is packed full of useful information.
  • Dr. Edwin Maas’s webinar, Principles of Motor Learning and Childhood Apraxia of Speech, is a great place to get an understanding of the basic principles of motor learning.

Laura’s most important advice for parents of kids with apraxia:

  • Recognize that this is a lifelong neurological disorder.
  • Early and appropriate intervention promotes the best outcomes.
  • Don’t be scared to advocate for your kid.
  • Have a growth mindset and be willing to learn.

What's Inside:

  • Laura’s personal journey of having her child diagnosed with apraxia – testing, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.
  • Diagnosing apraxia – early signs and characteristics
  • How to find an appropriate therapist
  •  Resources for speech therapists and parents

Today's Guest:

Laura Smith is Apraxia-Kids recognized for advanced training and clinical expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech, has completed the PROMPT Level 1 training, and the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP). She is the clinical director and owner of A Mile High Speech Therapy specializing in childhood speech and language disorders. She has lectured throughout the United States on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and related issues. Laura is committed to raising and spreading CAS awareness following her own daughter’s diagnosis of CAS and dyspraxia. She is the author of Overcoming Apraxia, coordinated the Denver Apraxia Walk from 2015-2019, and writes for various publications including the ASHA wire blog, The Mighty, and on a website she manages, slpmommyofapraxia.com. In 2016, Laura was awarded ASHA’s media award for garnering national media attention around apraxia detailing her connection with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, and also received ASHA’s ACE award for her continuing education, specifically in the area of childhood motor speech disorders.

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