INDIANAPOLIS — Most people never learn about apraxia of speech unless they are personally touched by the disorder.
Children with apraxia of speech have extreme difficulty learning to clearly say syllables and words. Although the child can understand language and knows the words, the brain doesn’t send accurate messages to the muscles of the lips, tongue, and jaw, telling those muscles how, when, and in what order to move to create words clearly.
The disorder is often misdiagnosed as autism.
City, state, and school officials got together on May 14 to mark Apraxia of Speech Awareness Day at the Wayne Township Preschool. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard declared it Apraxia of Speech Awareness Day in the city. Kelly Carter, Ballard’s neighborhood liaison for Wayne Township, attended a special event and read the proclamation signed by the mayor.
Serving as the emcee of the event was Dr. Jeff Butts, superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township.
“Welcome to Wayne Township Preschool,” Butts said. “We have very energetic and engaged parents who will be holding a walk in September to bring even more awareness to apraxia.”
He said he had not heard about the disorder until it was brought to his attention by Kelly Hartman whose son, Jackson, was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech or CAS.
Indiana State Representative Carlee Macer was on hand to show her support to the families dealing with CAS.
“Hearing that proclamation is so inspiring,” Macer said. “We need to help parents like Kelly by giving more awareness of CAS. I know Jackson’s success story can provide hope for some parents.”
Hartman and her husband, Eric, took their son, nearly 5, to the doctor when he was still not speaking at 18 months. He was enrolled in First Steps but was got progressing. The therapist with First Steps asked to bring in a specialist.