A journey… with a purpose. And now a book… with a message.
On today’s Indy Style, we meet mother-son duo Amber and Damarius Echols, and this momma’s book, “Finding My Voice with a Speech Disorder.” It chronicles Damarius’ journey with a speech disorder and how he overcame it, along with providing resources to parents on how to help their children sooner than later.
Here’s more on Amber’s story: (written by Amber)
While Damarius was in speech therapy classes, on the days I was able to go, I kept a journal and I wrote down how he did in his sessions. I kept track of what testing was coming up even if he didn’t do well at speech that day; I wrote down what he was going through.
So after he graduated from speech, I had a baby and I began writing again. And because I have a passion for writing and I want to help others, I thought about writing a children’s book about Damarius’ journey with his speech. So I looked at the journal I kept for him through the years. I also looked through past pictures of a walk I coordinated to help raise awareness and money for children with apraxia. This helped me to write his journey.
I am a first time author that is working on other children’s books and fiction novels. All of my children’s books have a message and are meant to inspire and encourage others. I also create journals that are inspiring. Currently I created a journal for parents with children in speech therapy. Being able to go back and truly see the progress he made was great for me and Damarius. I found a really great illustrator, Vector Family, I expressed my vision to him and he was able to make it come to life on paper.
Finding My Voice With A Speech Disorder takes you on a journey with Damarius on how he overcome his speech disorder. The book covers what he went through with his speech, emotions, his schooling and his social life. It talks about how he was encouraged and determined as well. At the end of the book there are resources for families.There are many different speech disorders that affect each child differently but we have to take action and seek help.
At one point we were advised he may need a speaking device to help him communicate but we were able to get him the amount of speech therapy visits he needed weekly, at times that was three and four visits a week and look at him now.
There are many celebrities who overcame different speech disorders, such as: President; Joe Biden, poet/writer Amanda Gorman, American professional wrestler; Rhonda Rousey, American professional golfer; Tiger Woods and so many more famous celebrities. They are also prime examples that we can never give up and we have to aim high and try our best. Our children are our future and we have to use the resources available to us to help them become successful.
We were also told he may need speech therapy until he was 18 or older and there was no cure. We hope his story will encourage families to seek help sooner than later and utilize the resources that are out there that can help. Also there are resources on the back of the book where families can check, for example, if their child is meeting the recommended milestones, where to receive assistance for speech therapy and more.
It takes a child’s family, teachers, speech therapists and people who want to help a child find their voice. There are many different speech disorders and they affect children differently and can be more severe than others. If we give our kids the best opportunities and chances to help them overcome their challenges or to get to the best ability possible, the better off our kids will be. Giving their best is all we can ask for but they also need the tools to do so. Because they are, our future. In the near future I plan to start a foundation that will help children receive speech therapy, transportation, speech devices, speech games and more.