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I Believed My Needs Didn’t Matter - The Apraxia Foundation Blog

"When I could not communicate my needs as a child due to my speech diagnosis, I grew up believing that my needs didn’t matter or didn’t need to be met.

Growing up with apraxia of speech, I couldn’t combine words until age eight. Even when I could, people who weren’t close to me couldn’t understand me. When I was with my mom, I knew she could understand me because she picked up on my speech patterns and sounds. However, when I was not with my mom or siblings, I couldn’t be understood.

In elementary school, this meant my needs didn’t always get met. When I would have to go to the bathroom, I couldn’t communicate it. When I would point to the bathroom door, though, people put two and two together over time.

At lunch, I didn’t always get the lunch I wanted. Kids would try to make me hurry in line, which is why I loved my mom coming to school to eat lunch with me. Because I knew then if I needed anything, she would make sure I got it.

The reason I write this post is to highlight the importance of utilizing all tools of communication. As a child, Argumentative & Alternative Communcation (AAC) wasn’t as advanced as today. However, now your kids and loved ones have access to it. Your loved one's needs must be met because it does take a toll on the person. One of the reasons why it frustrates me when people say apraxia of speech only affects speech is because I know my lived experiences. I was once the child who couldn’t say a word. I was once the child to whom others didn’t say hi because I couldn’t say hi back.

However, now I am the person who is actively advocating for all people with disabilities to have access to their needs and be able to communicate them. My heart won’t allow me not to advocate because that’s not the person I am nor the person the boy in the picture was.

If you or a loved one needs AAC, The Apraxia Foundation: Hearing All Voices Inc. grants speech services & AAC to families in need. I believe access to services is a fundamental right, and I want everyone to have access to it. If you would like to apply for a grant today or donate to help our 20+ families in need before the application deadline ends October 1st, 2023, please request an application here: 💙

Because while this journey can be isolating, it’s not a journey or path you must walk alone."

With love & light,

- Jordan LeVan


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