Saturday walk for communication disorders to raise community awareness

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Sept. 2, 2010 at 4:02 a.m.

Sloan Bohac

Sloan Bohac

Sloan Bohac is 3 years old and has never spoken a word in his life.

He can't produce a sound, said his mother, Jamie Bohac, of Victoria.

Bohac, her son and others will meet at Riverside Park for the Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech on Saturday.

The speech disorder can be verbal, in which a person has trouble saying words, almost like a stutter, because of paralysis of speech muscles, or it can be non-verbal, in the case of Sloan, who uses a computer to communicate with others.

"It's just hard because you don't know how to communicate with your child," Bohac said. "All you want to do is ask them how their day is."

Sloan receives five speech therapy sessions a week, his mother said.

He was diagnosed at 16 months.

A walk of awareness happened last year but it was unofficial, said Meredith Potts, event coordinator who works for the Golden Crescent Speech and Hearing Association.

At least 45 people are registered to receive a T-shirt for the walk, but Potts invites all people to attend the walk, which will also have games for children and resource information on other speech impediments, not just Apraxia.

"It's a very laborious process," said Potts, about how a person with Apraxia tries to speak. "Those kids know what they want to say, but their body is not cooperating. It's very frustrating and difficult to treat."

Sloan's mother is glad the event is helping raise local speech impediment awareness, she said.

At least 8 to 9 percent of young children are shown to have a speech disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

"It's so important for people to understand and know the signs," his mother said. "It's not just for children with Apraxia, there is so many speech disorders out there that go unnoticed."



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