Can't Get The Dang Words Out: Apraxia

Going through your entire life having difficulty communicating your thoughts is frustrating, especially when you know exactly, for the most part, what you want to express. This is especially frustrating when the world depends on you being able to communicate effectively and efficiently. Well, frustrating is a bit of an understatement in the early years of living with Apraxia. There were a lot of tears, misunderstandings, adults not taking the time to listen to me and many more challenges through childhood and adolescence.  

Growing up in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, parents had to advocate and push for their kids to get the resources their kids need to improve their speech to either catch up to their peers, or just to be able to speak at all. That advocacy has provided opportunities for more resources in today’s society for families who have children who struggle with speech and language.


It is easy to not push yourself to improve or to take the easy road and settle with what you have and what that will get you. In my own personal experience, I have taken or almost taken the easy road and settled with whatever that road would give me. Fortunately, I had and still continue to have a good support system which is key to my success’ in testing my limits and not settling for the easy route. 

The support system I had and still continue to have has helped me through a lot of challenges. My parents, brother, girlfriend and close friends and family have all pushed for nothing but the best for me and supported me in achieving things that some may have doubted in my childhood such as; graduating college, obtaining a secure job, getting a girlfriend etc. All situations in which communication is looked upon as the most important factor. 

One may ask themselves how does someone who struggles with speech and communication cope with the negativity surrounding their “disorder”? Although everyone deals with their thoughts and emotions differently, for me that answer is Sports. Playing and watching sports allowed a distraction from everything that happened and was happening surrounding my communication.  I’m big into hockey, baseball, lacrosse and football. I am a diehard Leafs and Jays fan, but also support the Toronto Rock, LA Chargers, and Toronto Raptors. I also like to support my local junior team, the London Knights. Watching sports is a little get away from the curveballs life decided to throw at me, pun intended. People close to me know that sports is in my blood and always will be. By listening to the commentators, celebrating a goal, touchdown or a run helped me in a way that speech therapy could not and in those moments of my childhood brought so much joy to my life. 

At the current age of 25, I consider myself to be a decent communicator and see growth in where I was and how far I have come, although there are still areas where I struggle and where I see room for improvement.  Struggles like, my brain and muscles not coordinating well together or being able to portray my message in a manner that others will understand. I will and  will continue to have struggles with my speech and Apraxia will always be something that I have, however, Apraxia does not define me.

- Ryan

For more on Apraxia, check out these resources from our friends at Speech-Language & Audiology Canada:

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