The National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association held an event on the 23rd of September at the University of West Georgia on campus to raise awareness for apraxia of speech.
The event that NSSLHA held was called “Walk for Apraxia.” The walk started at the education center building on the University of West Georgia campus at 9 a.m. The group of people that came out to the event began at the education center building and they continued around the front of campus.
The event lasted a little under an hour, and there were 10 people that came and supported. The NSSLHA club made signs to help advocate for the event, and they also made a post on their facebook page to spread the word.
“We put together this event to celebrate all of those who have overcome their struggles with apraxia of speech and raise awareness for those who constantly struggle with it everyday,” said Mary Grace Casey, secretary of NSSLHA of UWG. “Out of all of my four years here, this walk has been my favorite event that we have done as a club.”
Apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder that is caused by a brain disease or brain damage. It affects the brain pathway that produces speech. Someone who has apraxia of speech has difficulty processing messaging that they are trying to get out. Some symptoms include babbling, using a limited number of consonants and vowels, speech is hard to understand, inconsistent errors in speech, distorting sounds, etc. Since the disorder is speech related, it is not until around the age of three years old that someone can be fully diagnosed with apraxia of speech.
“The walk for apraxia was my favorite event we have done because we were able to educate other people about what apraxia is,” said Casey. “Most people have actually never heard about apraxia of speech. It is so special because we can celebrate the ones who have done well through having the disorder.”
Apraxia of speech can be a result from a stroke, tumor, dementia, a head injury, or an illness that attacks the brain. Those who have apraxia of speech can attend speech therapy to improve their abilities to process their speech. The amount of time someone has to spend in therapy just depends on the severity of their case, but it is a very intensive process. Each and every person’s circumstances can vary. Most of the time this therapy lasts for several years. This speech disorder can also be linked with other serious disorders like down syndrome and autism. They are not always linked together but they can be in some cases.
“Apraxia is considered to be a rare condition and it is something that children are born with,” said Casey. “It actually only affects 0.1% of all the people in our population which is about 1 or 2 people out of 1,000. We celebrate those who overcome and improve their speech because of how rare and serious it affects their life.”