An SLP who has a daughter with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), Laura Baskall Smith took a big chance recently and it’s paying off in a big way. While browsing news stories on her computer one quiet morning this past May, Smith came across an article about mixed-martial-arts fighter Ronda Rousey. As she read Rolling Stone’s profile of Rousey she took particular notice of a paragraph where Rousey shared her childhood struggles with intelligible speech.
After reading the article, Smith suspected that Rousey suffered from CAS. The SLP—a CASANA-certified specialist in apraxia—immediately read other interviews and stories about Rousey to learn more. Smith decided to write Rousey and while on the UFC fighter’s website noticed a book signing happening that night less than 30 minutes from her house.
Smith rearranged her schedule, bought Rousey’s book and set off for the signing with her 5-year-old daughter in tow. That spontaneous adventure resulted in Rousey’s promotion of CAS through her Facebook page and a heart-warming blog post from Smith.
That might have been the end of it, but Rousey kept her word to use apraxia instead of speech impediment in subsequent interviews. Then a handful of mainstream media outlets such as USA Today, Huffington Post and Daily Mail wrote about the encounter. So Smith’s daring request more than met her hopes that Rousey would help spread awareness about CAS.