Updated: Sep 3
Laura Baskall Smith, MA CCC-SLP
As children get ready to go back to school, parents of children with apraxia may feel more trepidation than the average parent. Children with apraxia may be unable to tell about any events that happened during their school day. Parents worry about bullying or teasing; however, they may also feel a sense of sadness that their child won’t be able to tell them anything about their day. Something as simple as what they had for snack or what they did at recess are experiences most people take for granted unless you have a child with a severe communication delay.
On episode one of The Apraxia Foundation, Laura Smith and Jordan LeVan discussed these special challenges experienced by parents who have children going back to school with apraxia. At the start of school, parents may want to personalize an “about me” poster available in the resources section of the website along with the apraxia brochure detailing information on apraxia for school staff. An “about me poster” is a helpful and quick way for teachers to look at your child at a glance and get to know their strengths and interests as well as to see their diagnose(s). Ideally every teacher will have read the IEP and already learned about each child’s individual needs; however, with large classroom sizes this may not be possible during those first weeks of school so some quick and easy to read information on your child can be helpful.
Another suggestion would be to have a back and forth book as a way to communicate between school and home. Back and forth books can be as simple as a steno notebook where the teacher or support personnel write one or two things that happened throughout the day. Other suggestions may be via an email, shared online document, app like class dojo, or other system that the teacher and parents set up. The best system is one that works the best for that particular team!
Parents are their child’s first advocate! Don’t be afraid to ask the school or teacher if you can do a class presentation, or read a class children’s book on apraxia. Kids are many times just curious and respond positively to education about another child’s differences and how they can help.
Laura Smith, M.A. CCC-SLP is the mother to two beautiful children, one of which has a rare genetic mutation that caused a variety of developmental disabilities including CAS. She is an author and lectures throughout the United States on CAS and related issues. Currently, Laura is a practicing SLP specializing in apraxia at her clinic A Mile High Speech Therapy in Aurora, Colorado and is on the Professional Advisory Board for The Apraxia Foundation 501(c)3 non profit.