Jacen is a bright and energetic 6-year-old like any child, but he also has childhood apraxia; a neurological condition that makes it difficult for him to talk. Jacen was diagnosed around 3 years of age when it became apparent that he was not developing normal, if any speech. His parents knew the words Jacen was trying to say were always in his mind, but they just weren’t making it to his mouth to form normal speech. He was growing up in a life where he knew what he wanted, even what he wanted to say, but only being able to communicate by pointing and grunting. For a boy who is mechanically inclined, and is always interested in helping his Dad fix things around the house, it had to be very distressing not even being able to ask simple questions like, “what is that,” “what does that do,” “how does that work.”
Childhood apraxia is curable with proper speech therapy, but it is a long and consistent process. Even with daily help from his school, and specialized speech therapy 1-2 times a week, progress is slow, but steady. The Pinehurst Foundation was able to provide a speech device to help Jacen communicate; to help bridge the gap between what he could and could not, yet, say. For the first time, if Jacen knew what he wanted to say, but didn’t know how, he was able to communicate his thoughts with this device. He can choose single words associated with pictures and even build sentences. It has opened up Jace’s world, helped him to make friends, helped him with school, helped him communicate at home with his family.
We are very grateful to the Pinehurst Foundation and donors for their generosity. What they gave Jacen is more than just an electronic device, it is a voice to communicate with a world that a young boy desperately wanted to interact with.