Apraxia walk hits the trail at DuPont Employee Recreation Center Park

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Participating in the fourth annual Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech were, from left, Jody Dowler, Brooklyn Dowler, Gabriel Knight, Lexis Rinehart, Brandtley Miller, Austin Braden and Crystal Wallace.

WASHINGTON, W.Va. — While it was the fourth year for the Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech event it had a new home this year.

Crystal Wallace, coordinator of the Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech, said they had 90 people, including seven children with the condition participating in the walk at the DuPont Employee Recreation Center Park.

Wallace said the Apraxia disorder is a condition where the brain struggles to plan and coordinate the muscle movement necessary for speech. She said the goal was to raise $5,000 and as of late Saturday they had raised that amount.

“It is a brain processing disorder that affects the motor planning required for speech,” she said. “They are actually very smart children, their brain knows exactly what they want to say, it just gets lost in translation from the brain to the mouth, they just don’t have the motor planning to say the words.”

Wallace said with extensive therapy most go on to speak as they should, she said. For most families the diagnosis comes at age 3. Making the diagnosis could be confused with some other speech delay.

“Nationally one in 100 is diagnosed with Apraxia,” she said. “As far as we know there are 12 in West Virginia.”

In past years the walk took place at City Park but this year the walk was moved to the DERC in Washington Bottom. Wallace said the DERC donated the use of the park for the walk this year.

“It has been wonderful here, I can’t thank DERC enough,” she said. “They waived all their rental fees and donated the pool for us for this so we can have a pool party after the event.”

McConnelsville resident Heather Rinehart’s daughter, Lexis, was diagnosed with Apraxia at 3 years of age. Now 8 years old, she has been working with therapists.

“We found out Lexis has Apraxia when she was 3 years old,” Rinehart said. “Her speech therapist made the diagnosis.”

Rinehart said there were no other occurrences of the condition in her family or her husband’s family.

“It is kind of unknown as to why,” she said. “No one in our family had it.”

Lexis has been in speech therapy from the start along with physical therapy and occupational therapy at school.

“She was having private speech therapy twice a week and now we’re going every other week,” she said.

Lexis said in her session she goes over words over and over. They also have memory games and board games to help.

“I like science and a super speller,” she said.

When asked how she described Apraxia to other she said she just tells others it harder for her to talk. She knows what she wants to say but the words don’t always come out. She will be in the fifth grade at Morgan West Grade School when school starts.

Her mother said they have been part of the walks since Lexis was diagnosed.

“We used to go to a walk in Columbus, but this is our third year at this walk,” she said.

Wallace said her daughter Brooklyn was diagnosed at age 3 like most others. However, her form of Apraxia affects more than her speech. She attends Martin Elementary School in Parkersburg.

“Hers is global,” she said. “Meaning it actually affects all of her motor planning, not just motor planning for speech. She has to have physical therapy and occupational therapy.

“Many of the children have occupational therapy because they have a processing disorder and occupational therapy helps with that.”

Wallace said her daughter receives therapy from Wood County Schools along with adaptive physical education.