Speech Thoughts

Speech Therapy Done Right – Ronda Rousey’s Battle with Apraxia

Apraxia Speech Therapy

Recently, USA Today wrote a story on  Ronda Rousey’s bout with Child Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  Ronda went 12-0 before her famous knockout by Holly Holm last year, and while preparing for one of her fights, she spoke of an earlier struggle to overcome CAS.

Born with an umbilical cord around her neck and damaged vocal cords it was unclear at age six if she would ever talk. But following many hours of intense work in therapy, she is today a top spokesperson for the sport of woman’s bantamweight boxing. During her, USA interview, Ronda spoke of the great work done by her therapist.

Speech Therapy Done Right

“I love my speech therapist.”

“I didn’t even know I was in speech therapy,”

“and the best thing about my recovery was that I never felt inferior.”

“Tell any kid struggling with speech that anything can be overcome with hard work regardless of how insurmountable the odds seem.”

I almost want to end this article here because her words are so well said. To me, this is a story of speech therapy done right.

It may not be Apraxia

And as great a story, as this is, current studies find a somewhat large number of children receive a diagnosis of CAS in error.
Some reasons for this;
A child’s speech may need extra time to develop.
The professional making the diagnosis is not a CAS expert.
There is so much regarding early child brain development we have yet to learn.

My experience has taught me to step back before moving to a diagnosis CAS  especially when basing it on an initial interview or even the first couple of visits. Generally, I’ve found it important to get to know the child and watch how they respond to therapy. Further to confirm a suspicion of CAS, I opted to refer the child to an expert in this area.

At this time, there is no way to know if Ronda Rousey was correctly diagnosed with CAS. In the final analysis, her story underlines the need of getting help at a crucial point in development. Kudos to her parents and therapist! Without such assistance, it’s not clear where here life might be today. The undercard here are the tens of thousands’ of speech therapy success stories which did not make the pages of a national paper. Tales that if shared, would identify equally changed lives.

Follow up reading:

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association

Apraxia: Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Treatments