Watching Allison at church yesterday and talking to Chris about it inspired me to write this post today.
Allison recently started as an altar server at our church. She really wanted to do it. I’ve been watching with amazement. She’s come so far. Let me explain.
When Allison was 2, she was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech. Haven’t heard of it? Most people haven’t. Apraxia is a (purportedly) neurologic disorder that impacts the ability to speak clearly or even to speak at all. Kids who get therapy early on and have good family support usually end up being able to talk. The outcome of kids who don’t get this kind of therapy and attention is not good, sadly. After years of speech and other therapies and a lot of very hard work on her part, Ally’s speech is perfect. We are grateful.
For a long time, we were focused only on her speech. Would she talk? Would people be able to understand her? Would her speech be slurred? Odd? Allison turned out to be a very determined little girl. Even at age 2, she tried hard and rarely complained. By Kindergarten, her speech was “normal.” It took us time to realize that apraxia doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It is not neatly packaged. After her speech resolved, there were still things to work on. With language. And handwriting. Following multi-step directions. Working on sensory issues to get her to eat more than french fries. And attention, let’s not forget about that. It’s been a long road … and we are not done yet.
There’s more to her than this, though. Besides being determined, Ally is smart. And sweet. And caring. She gives school her all, every day. She’s delightfully quirky.
She has been taking this altar server job very seriously, I can tell. She knows that people are counting on her. She practically beams during mass.
“Such a confident girl!” someone said to me yesterday.
“How brave of her to stand in front of the whole parish!”
“Look at her up there!”
We are so proud. And SHE is so proud of herself. Here, she is a leader. Here, she is not always playing catch-up. She is serving others, yes, but from the experience, she is receiving so much more. It’s a revelation (pun intended).
Have a comment? As always, I’d love to hear from you!