“Every child deserves a voice”. Five words that virtually everyone you meet will agree with.
Yet the reality is that many children don’t have that simply luxury so many others take for granted. And those around them don’t always understand why.
Childhood apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that causes the brain to have difficulty telling the mouth how to move in order to make sounds. According to an article from Science Daily, speech therapists estimate as many as 1 to 10 children out of every 1,000 kids may have the disorder.
And that is why the contributions of Lehigh Valley Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech deserve the spotlight today. Because they are on a mission to raise awareness so that more people understand why a child may not be talking.
Once a year, this Pennsylvania-based organization puts together a walk (one of many around the country) to help raise funds for CASANA. Their event helps connect parents and professionals together as one team, and also raises funs to support speech therapy grants, iPads for kids who are nonverbal, and educational opportunities for parents and professionals.
Five-year volunteer and walk coordinator Heather Hamilton tells us they have approximately 200 people attend the walk, which also helps to shine a spotlight on the children’s hard work in developing their speech.
“As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I work with children with a wide variety of speech and language disorders,” Heather tells America’s Footprints. “When a child can’t express themselves, we need to find a way for them to do it. And I coordinate the walk so that these kids have a day that commends them for all of their hard work.”
Heather says one of her favorite parts of the walk is when parents come up and give thanks for bringing awareness to a cause that very few people know about.
“A couple years ago a mom told me how she felt so alone in her journey with apraxia and that her four-year-old son didn’t have any friends. She thanked me for organizing the walk so that he could make some new ones.”
However their campaign is not without its difficulties. Heather says their biggest challenge is physically reaching all of the families that are affected by apraxia. While their network continues to grow, they currently don’t have a great way to connect with everyone.
But that hasn’t deterred Heather and the group from continuing their forward momentum.
“My biggest advice is to just have a goal and keep reaching for it. We don’t always reach our goal every year, but we keep growing. As long as you reach one more person, you have succeeded.”
AmericasFootprints.com would like to give thanks to Heather for sharing her story today. You can follow their cause on Facebook. They currently have a walk scheduled for Sunday September 20th, 2015 at 9:00 AM in Lone Lane Park of the Lehigh Valley, which will also feature raffles, carnival games, crafts, food, music and more.
To register for their upcoming event, or to make a donation to their cause, please visit their walk website.