Famous characters with apraxia? And, an insurance update.

Many people now know that UFC fighter Ronda Rousey had apraxia (Who knew?), but I got to thinking about some fictional and real life characters that may be undiagnosed apraxics. Pretty much every character from Looney Tunes had a speech impediment of some kind:

Looney Tunes

But I thought of some others as well.

Cookie Monster


Characteristics: overstuffing his mouth; difficulty with pronouns (“Me want cookies!”); difficulty with eye contact; no “s” on the end of present tense verbs (“Cookie cookie cookie start with C”); careful enunciation of long words (“Me have great i-mag-in-a-tion”). Also, he’s blue, which is the color for apraxia awareness.

Teller (Penn and Teller)


Teller is the silent one. Characteristics include understanding everything but not saying a word and allowing Penn to “talk” for him.


I love this muppet.


Characteristics: Not only is he a little klutzy and prone to disasters, he speaks in a high-pitched voice with only two sounds: Mee and Meep. He uses tone and facial expressions to communicate the meaning.

The Swedish Chef


Another muppet; the Swedish Chef speaks nonsense words that are “Swedish-sounding.” Odd accent, sing-song tone, mostly unintelligible with an intelligible word here and there.

Kenny from South Park


Kenny’s speech is muffled and totally indiscernible, ostensibly because of his parka. Undiagnosed apraxia? Brain injury from his repeated deaths? He dies in every episode and returns to the next as if it never happened…Hmm, maybe insurance would cover his therapy if a result of repeated trauma.

Who do you think, fictional or real, might have apraxia or another speech disorder?


As promised, an insurance update. Cigna split the appeal into two parts: one for past therapy Eli received, and one requesting that therapy be covered going forward. In short, both appeals were denied. The pediatrician reviewing them gave the same reasoning for both. He said that the policy excludes speech therapy for articulation, apraxia, mouth disorders, etc.unless the therapy is needed as a result of a medical condition or injury. He went on to say the documentation I submitted indicates that Eli has apraxia, and then wastes a paragraph talking about the difference between developmental apraxia and acquired apraxia (e.g., loss of speech in adults). But then, he looks at Eli’s initial evals from Feb/March 2015 to say Eli is receiving speech for developmental delays.

Huh? My problems with this so-called analysis are twofold. First, isn’t apraxia a medical condition? Doesn’t Eli need speech therapy because of a problem in his brain? And second, while the good doctor concedes that the documentation I submitted shows that Eli has apraxia, he concludes by saying that this is strictly a developmental delay and that is the basis of the treatment. Say what? If you have been reading, you know that this is hogwash. Apraxia isn’t something he will grow out of. Nor was it something we knew about or that any qualified professional could have reasonably diagnosed when he was 17 or 18 months old.

So, warriors, we carry on. This ends the process for Cigna, but it doesn’t end for us. The next step is to appeal to an Independent Review Organization. They will receive all the documents from Cigna and anything else I deem appropriate to add. Any decision they make is binding on Cigna. In the meantime, apraxiadad is working with HR at his company to change the policies offered to employees and their families so that speech can be covered for kids like Eli, and even kids like Layla, with articulation problems. Even if we can’t get coverage for 2015, or even 2016, we can try to get it for the many years of speech to come.



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