The best books for parents who have a child with apraxia

Why am I passionate about this?

I started as a designer, patented inventor, and creator in the fashion, toy, and film industries, but after the early diagnosis of my young children on the spectrum, both “late talkers,” diagnosed with multiple disorders including apraxia, I entered the world of nonprofit, research, and advocacy. I am the founder of the nonprofit Cherab Foundation where I've been outreaching for over twenty years. I've hosted numerous conferences including the first for apraxia overseen by a medical director from NIH who reviewed my protocol – the use of fish oils as a therapeutic intervention, published research on my patented nutritional intervention IQed Smart Nutrition, and co-authored the book The Late Talker to share my proven protocol and help others achieve the best possible results for their communication impaired children.

I wrote...

The Late Talker

By Marilyn C. Agin, Lisa F. Geng, Malcolm J. Nicholl

Book cover of The Late Talker

What is my book about?

The Late Talker is the first book of its kind, providing effective, practical answers to the questions every concerned parent asks. Written by Marilyn C. Agin, a highly respected developmental pediatrician, and Lisa F. Geng, a mother of two late talkers.

It is a tremendously useful handbook that includes: ways to identify the warning signs of a speech disorder; information on how to get the right kind of evaluations and therapy; ways to obtain appropriate services through the school system and health insurance; fun at-home activities that parents can do with their child to stimulate speech; groundbreaking evidence of the promising and dramatic benefits of nutritional supplementation; advice from experienced parents who've been there on what to expect and what you can do to be your child's best advocate.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Differences

Lisa F. Geng Why did I love this book?

Sensory processing disorder or SPD is a difficult condition to explain as it can involve one or more of any of our senses, so can present differently in each child. It would be considered one of the neurological “soft signs” meaning that a diagnosis of SPD typically means there is more going on than a simple developmental lag. Today the majority of children diagnosed with apraxia also have coexisting soft signs such as SPD, hypotonia (low tone), and/or motor deficits in the body. It’s important if apraxia is diagnosed or suspected to take your child to either a pediatric neurologist or developmental pediatrician to confirm or rule out soft signs in the body.

When Tanner was little and his only “words” were “mmm” or “ma” we were at the Chelsea Piers in NYC. Tanner had a sensory meltdown and if you’ve never seen one it can be very intense. His whole body stiffened up, his eyes were bulging and he was screaming “MA!” with his arms stretched out where strangers were passing us looking at him as if we just grabbed him away from his mother. My Aunt was one of the adults with us that day. Even though she had her doctorate in nursing, she didn’t know how to calm Tanner down, and in most cases, nobody knew how to deal with SPD back in 1999 when this happened. When the book The Out of Sync Child was published, it was then and still is a game-changer for knowing about and helping your child with SPD. 

By Carol Stock Kranowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Out-of-Sync Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking book that explains Sensory Processing Difference (SPD)–and presents a drug-free approach that offers hope for parents–now revised and updated.

Does your child exhibit…

Over-responsivity–or under-responsivity–to touch or movement? A child with SPD may be a “sensory avoider,” withdrawing from touch, refusing to wear certain clothing, avoiding active games–or he may be a “sensory disregarder,” needing a jump start to get moving.

Over-responsivity–or under-responsivity–to sounds, sights taste, or smell? She may cover her ears or eyes, be a picky eater, or seem oblivious to sensory cues.

Cravings for sensation? The “sensory craver” never gets enough of certain sensations, e.g.,…

Book cover of The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children with Special Needs, a Guide for Parents and Teachers

Lisa F. Geng Why did I love this book?

When you have a child with a severe communication impairment, they probably are in therapy almost every day of their life. Too often, I’ve found parents forget children with special needs are still children.  While appropriate speech therapy is critical for apraxia, children learn through play, and too often the importance of play is underestimated. What I love about The New Language of Toys is it shows us, the parents (as well as therapists) how to take typical toys found around the house to use as fun therapy tools to help bring your child a voice.  

 I used to work in toy design prior to being a parent so being able to use toys as therapy for speech is amazing. In addition, it helps the child’s self-esteem when you can teach them how to play, something that doesn’t always come naturally to a percentage of children with special needs. This book is useful for therapists too, however, even if you have no training to be a therapist, and you don’t consider yourself creative, this book will walk you through how to use toys to become one of your child’s best therapists at home.

Book cover of Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism

Lisa F. Geng Why did I love this book?

If you have a child diagnosed with apraxia, a rare but growing neurologically-based communication impairment, you are probably aware of the lack of research for apraxia in children. Life, Animated is geared towards those raising a child with autism. While apraxia is considered to be “on the spectrum” not every child with apraxia meets the requirements for a diagnosis of autism, some of the treatments that have been found helpful for autism, have been found useful to address apraxia as well. In addition, a Penn State study found 64% of those with autism have apraxia. 

Life, Animated is helpful in a number of ways. Like The New Language of Toys, it demonstrates how we as parents can become instrumental in helping our children breakthrough to find their voices. It teaches us to look outside of the evidence to integrative methods that may help. Knowing which toy, activity, or subject matter grabs our child’s attention and makes them shine is something we know as our child’s expert. Learning how one father utilized his autistic son’s fixation as a form of therapy is something we can each seek to do as well to help our children at home.

Prior to this book being published, I utilized this type of method when Tanner was little and fixated on Pokémon. Even though his therapists wanted to focus speech therapy on functional language such as the word “more”, his motivation to learn to say Pokémon superseded his desire to learn to say anything else. Going to Tanner’s world and what he wanted and allowing him to try to learn how to say Pokémon names was a starting point that enabled both me at home as well as with his traditional speech therapy. 

By Ron Suskind,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life, Animated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind tells the story of how his autistic son was able to regain the ability to speak through the medium of Disney animated films.

"Ron Suskind's "Life, Animated" is an extraordinary saga of an exceptional boy from a remarkable family and their compelling journey through autism."-David Royko, Chicago Tribune

Imagine being trapped inside a Disney movie and having to learn about life mostly from animated characters dancing across a screen of color. A fantasy? A nightmare? This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife,…

Book cover of Your Special Education Rights: What Your School District Isn't Telling You

Lisa F. Geng Why did I love this book?

Unlike parents who have a child that is born deaf or blind where protocols are in place by law, if you have a child with a communication impairment like apraxia, you have to advocate a lot for your child or they may not receive the therapies and placement that are appropriate for them. To make it even more complicated, there is no one set classification for a child with apraxia. If your child is deaf or has a diagnosis such as autism, the school system has a classification for those diagnoses. For just about any other communication impairment your child can be classified from “other health impaired” to “developmentally delayed” Some schools may have communication or speech impairments as a classification, but not all.

This book is a start to helping you learn how to become an advocate for your late talker child. After advocating for both of my special needs sons, and trying to learn special education law which I found overwhelming, I like books like this that tell it like it is. While this book is not just geared for communication impairments, there are very few if any that are, and this book helps break down the process in a way that is understanding. Learning our children’s rights to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment is a tool so that instead of feeling confused and intimidated at the IEP meeting, you are actively working with the rest of the IEP team.

By Jennifer Laviano, Julie Swanson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Special Education Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on decades of experience, a special education attorney and sought-after special education advocate help parents of students with disabilities navigate their school systems to get the services they need for their children.

Parents will find no other book on special education like Your Special Education Rights. Julie and Jennifer demystify the federal laws that govern the rights of public school children with disabilities and explain how school districts often ignore or circumvent these laws. They pull the curtain back on the politics of special education, exposing truths that school districts don't want you to know, such as the fact…

Book cover of Chicken Soup for the Soul: All Your Favorite Original Stories Plus 20 Bonus Stories for the Next 20 Years

Lisa F. Geng Why did I love this book?

As a parent of a child diagnosed with apraxia, you probably have heard, “what’s wrong with him?” at least once. If not, be prepared, because when you hear it and you aren’t ready for it, it can feel like someone knocked the wind out of you. I didn’t only love the Chicken Soup for the Soul books for me, but I also would share the stories I felt were of interest with my boys who both were diagnosed as young children with severe special needs. What these books brought me and my boys was pride, hope, and inspiration that from a rough beginning, there can be a bright future. Actually, in some cases, these stories share it’s due to a rough start that the person ended up becoming a better person.

While my son Tanner was little and I read stories to him from the Chicken Soup for the Soul book, I didn’t know how much he understood because back when he was little he was essentially nonverbal. In kindergarten, the public school said that Tanner due to their (inappropriate) testing, “wouldn’t make it” in a mainstream kindergarten class and needed to be schooled in a self-contained learning disabled placement. 

Due to my advocating for him, he attended a mainstream kindergarten class and remained there to go on to even being an honors student by the time he was in high school. Tanner attended and graduated from UCF in central Florida where he was on the Dean’s list. Currently, Tanner is taking the LSATs to attend law school where he wants to pursue his goal to become a special education attorney so he can help other children like himself. Tanner became my personal chicken soup for the soul.

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chicken Soup for the Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic New York Times bestseller that started it all- and according to USA Today one of the top five books in the past quarter century "that leave a legacy." The Original... with 20 new bonus stories for the next 20 years!

Everyone is talking about it. Twenty years after its creation, this bestseller continues to change lives around the world. Rediscover the power of inspiration with timeless stories about the everyday miracles that illuminate the best of the human spirit.

Whether you're discovering Chicken Soup for the Soul for the first time, or you are a long-time fan, this…

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Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

Book cover of Saving Raine

Marian L Thomas

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What is my book about?

Saving Raine is a captivating tale of resilience, redemption, and the enduring power of love, penned by the acclaimed author Marian L. Thomas.

This contemporary fiction novel chronicles the compelling journey of Raine Reynolds as she confronts heartache, betrayal, and loss. Against the vibrant backdrops of Atlanta and Paris, Raine's story unfolds as she grapples with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity and tragic passing.

Through poignant prose and compelling characters, "Saving Raine" delves into themes of forgiveness, healing, and the strength discovered in confronting life's greatest challenges. Readers will be captivated by Raine's emotional odyssey as she unearths hope, redemption, and the courage to embrace a brighter future.

Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

What is this book about?

Raine Reynolds stands at the crossroads of despair and opportunity.
When the life you've built crumbles and the past refuses to release its grip, sometimes you need a fresh start-a new beginning that promises hope and redemption.
Once a celebrated author, Raine's life unraveled, sending her fleeing to the picturesque streets of Paris to escape the tormenting heartache that threatened to consume her. Yet, no matter how far she traveled, the pain remained her unwelcome companion.
Returning to bustling Atlanta as a senior VP for an ad agency, Raine is forced to confront a city steeped in…

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