Walk for Apraxia: Local event to raise awareness for child speech disorder

Savannah Vasquez
Summer Boswell, the inspiration behind the first area Walk for Apraxia.

Crestview resident, Jennifer Boswell found out her three-year-old daughter Summer had a speech disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech only six months ago, but she has already hit the ground running to raise support and awareness for others in the area facing this same set-back.

Boswell has launched the first area Walk for Apraxia fundraiser to benefit the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA). The walk will be held at Henderson Beach State Park, Oct. 10. from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Motivated by her daughter’s struggle to communicate, Boswell said she wants to help families with children facing Apraxia find support, and encouragement in the panhandle area.

“I didn’t even know what Apraxia was until my daughter was diagnosed and I thought our area could really use some awareness,” she said. “I want to help people so they do not feel alone; to let them know there are others out there going through the same thing.”

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder.

“Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words,” reads their website. “This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.”

For Boswell, she knew Summer had a speech set-back but did not know how to address it until recently.

“We knew something wasn’t right from hearing other kids her age,” said Boswell. “She (Summer) is very loud at times, but you can’t really understand what she is saying. She gets frustrated a lot because she doesn’t feel that people can hear her.”

Today, Summer is getting speech therapy and attends a preschool program for children with disabilities and has already shown improvement.

“With the treatment now, Summer can say a few words clearly,” Boswell said. “But it’s going to be a long time before she can say sentences. Therapy and early intervention is important because they need intensive speech therapy in order to catch up.”

Saturday’s event will raise money for CASANA, a non-profit that offers speech grants, and items such as ipads so kids with Apraxia can communicate better.

The event will commence in reverse order to normal walks with entertainment followed by presentation of medals and awards before the mile-long walk around the park.

“We will have a D.J., a musician, a magic show and face painting for the kids,” said Boswell. “There will be raffle prizes, popcorn from Popcorn Jungle and Game Day pizza is going to be providing pizza for the families and the children. It’s just going to be bringing awareness and support for Apraxia to the area.”

The Walk for Apraxia will be held at Henderson Beach State Park, Oct. 10. from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost for the event is $20 per adult and $10 for children until Oct. 8. The fee increases to $25 per adult and $12 per child on the day of the event. To find out more or to register for the walk visit, http://casana.apraxia-kids.org/site/TR?fr_id=1670&pg=entry.

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