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Heartland boy with speech apraxia makes progress while spreading awareness

A Heartland boy with speech apraxia is making tremendous progress and spreading awareness about the disorder.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:07 AM CDT
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WOLF LAKE, Ill. (KFVS) - Having a conversation between others could easily be something we all take for granted, but for some it’s not so easy.

Especially for those with speech apraxia.

What is this disorder?

“An individual that has apraxia understands what they want to say, however they have a hard time formulating sounds, the sounds patterns to create intelligible words,” said Cassie Cohen, speech language pathologist.

Speech apraxia is often a disorder that’s misdiagnosed and that’s one reason why a Heartland family is continuing to bring awareness, especially ahead of Speech Apraxia Awareness Day, which is Saturday, May 14.

Last year we introduced you to Ryen Ellet, a spunky four year old, learning how to talk. He was diagnosed with speech apraxia and has made significant progress.

In 2021, forming words or sentences wasn’t the easiest thing for Ryen, but fast forward a year and he won’t stop talking.

“When you have a child that’s diagnosed with speech apraxia it’s just something they {doctors} will say well we can’t guarantee that they will ever talk, but he has proven that’s possible,” said Stephanie Ellet, Ryen’s mother.

Ryen’s mom said she loves the non-stop chatter.

“We love hearing all the words that he, we waited and prayed for so long for him to talk that there is nothing better to hear a new word or him to say a new phrase or something new. It’s exciting,” she said.

Everyday Ryen is working on his speech and once a week he meets with Cohen.

“When he started, he had zero intelligible words, he is now using simple sentences to express his wants and needs, answer questions and even tell us short stories,” Cohen said.

Cohen said his future looks bright.

“He is making significant progress and there is a chance that he will be able to discontinue speech therapy at some point and be able to communicate like we are,” she said.

And with all of Ryen’s talking, Stephanie hopes this sparks a conversation about speech apraxia.

“Spreading awareness and getting a little bit of attention, even if it helps on person. Even if it helps one parent say I want to look into this, and they finally figure out that this might be what’s going on,” said Ellet.

So, what they are seeing and hearing is what they have hope for these past four years.

“He is finally a kid and he is, finally, we are learning just now learning who he is,” said Ellet.

To learn more about speech apraxia visit this website.

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