Graham’s mother shares his story:

Around 18 months at Graham’s checkup we mentioned that he didn’t have too many words. He grunted a lot. We applied for First Steps to get some speech assistance; however, he was denied. He was barely passed. We tried again 6 months later, and he got into the program. He did so great! He started learning to say one syllable words. He was in the program for a little over a year. At that time, he started putting two words together. He still had trouble putting whole words together. For example, he would say “bu” for “bug” and “dah” for “dog”. He kept dropping either the first sound or the last.

We put ourselves on a waiting list for Children’s Mercy for their speech program. It took several months, but by the time First Steps ended, we were able to keep going in therapy. His speech pathologist at Children’s Mercy diagnosed him with speech apraxia. Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a speech disorder in which a child’s brain has difficulty coordinating the complex oral movements needed to create sounds into syllables, syllables into words, and words into phrases. Typically, muscle weakness is not to blame for this speech disorder.

Graham is a hard worker. He tries and tries. He is persistent and he doesn’t give up. He is great at imitating sounds but getting some of the sounds to come out is still a struggle for him. He has been in the school district preschool for little over a year and has made so much progress. Many still can’t understand what he is saying, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. He is great at either acting out what he needs, or he will show you. He may not be able to speak at our level, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. I’m so proud of our little dude. I spoke with his speech teacher Ms. Julie at his preschool and they have been using TouchChat HD with him to help with communication. She has said he has made great progress with the application. He will put sentences together and he will say them back. The audio helps him listen to the sounds and helps him say them out loud. She recommended that we should use it at home as well. This application would be so helpful for Graham. Graham loves to draw and make things. We spend hours doodling and using our creativity. He enjoys playing with his robots.”

This little guy is working so hard and it sounds like they have made such great progress with TouchChat HD. Especially now, during home isolation, it’s so important to make sure that kids in therapy have the equipment they need to use at home!  Help us to give Graham his voice. Donate today at varietykc.org/donate/        Thank you!