Kristi Hay of Mukwonago is a mom on a mission. Her daughter Brianna is like any other bright-eyed pre-teen. But she has trouble forming sounds, syllables, and words.
Brianna was diagnosed with speech apraxia when she was 6-years-old. Kids with apraxia understand what they want to say. They just have a problem saying it.
Hay knew early on something was amiss with her younger child.
"Our first indication when she was six months old, we discovered she wasn't able to swallow anything just a clear liquid formula.,” she said.
Hay advises parents to listen to their instincts.
"The first key is trust your gut, if your gut is telling you that something's not right don't let your Doctors say oh, they'll outgrow it," she said.
Hay is doing her part to raise awareness for speech apraxia. She and Brianna helped get the State Legislature to pass a resolution to make May 14, "Apraxia Awareness Day" in Wisconsin.
"Brianna got to sit front and center on the legislature floor while they were voting on her resolution," Hay said.
Hay warns many families have no idea their child lives with the condition.
"Too many kids go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because a lot of speech therapists don't know what it is, let alone how to treat it," she said.
To help get the word out, Hay is coordinating the Southeast Wisconsin Apraxia Walk on Oct. 7. Her team is called Brianna's voice. The wristband will say, "We walk so she can talk."
Hay said, "The more we can get the word out the better chance these kids have of succeeding and finding their own voice."