Ronda Rousey is a fighter, but not just in the ring.
Ever since she was young, Rousey struggled with childhood apraxia, a neurologically based speech sound disorder. When a person with childhood apraxia tries to speak, they are often unable to express themselves due to the brain’s incapability to coordinate with the body parts necessary for speaking.
Ronda Rousey was treated for her childhood apraxia at a young age, and like many people with speech disorders, she was able to overcome her challenge.
“Early intervention is a key predictor of later success,” says Kim Lewis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP/Owner, Activity Tailor. “A speech-language pathologist can assess a child for apraxia and differentiate between a language delay and motor speech disorder. Treatment should involve caregivers and the child’s natural environment which means using toys, books and objects that the child is familiar with and that families can easily incorporate into their day. I strive for a nearly seamless transition between play and therapy and empower parents to be their child’s best advocate.”
What are positive and fun activities that are considered speech therapy?
Rousey recently participated in a Reddit QandA, and when asked about her past struggles, she stated, “I’d like to tell any kid struggling with speech that anything can be overcome with hard work regardless of how insurmountable the odds seem.”
While she had been treated for her childhood apraxia at an early age, Rousey never knew the name of her disorder until recently.
At a book signing for her autobiography, “My Fight/Your Fight,” Rousey met Laura Smith, a mother with a five-year-old daughter who has childhood apraxia.
“I read probably everything she’s ever said about her speech impediment and the more I read I was like, ‘That was apraxia. This is apraxia,'” Smith said in an interview with ABC.
At the signing, Smith managed to get past Rousey’s body guards and handed her a pamphlet that advocated for apraxia awareness. The pamphlet immediately resonated with Rousey, and she realized that she, in fact, suffered from apraxia throughout her childhood.
“I actually ended up reading through the whole thing that night and was like, ‘Oh my God, this is all exactly it. This is exactly what it was,’” Rousey said in an interview with Good Morning America. “I didn’t know it was actually apraxia until that moment”.
After her realization, Rousey got in touch with Smith and her daughter and began immediately advocating for apraxia awareness.
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