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Zumbathon aids kids with speech disorder PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Friday, 17 January 2014 11:14
Deb Kelly (right), a speech therapist for Wood County Hospital Rehabilitation, works with Aleks Ostrowski, a 6-year-old with apraxia. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Eli McIntosh is enjoying life as a kindergartner at Kenwood Elementary in Bowling Green.
So is Aleks Ostrowski, a member of the kindergarten class at St. Aloysius School.
Like the other children in their classrooms, Aleks and Eli are learning to read simple words, add simple sums and "work and play well with others."
But 6-year-old Eli and Aleks have a special challenge to overcome. Each has a condition called Apraxia of Speech, described by medical professionals as a very challenging and complicated, but little-known, neurological speech disorder.
"The kids know what they want to say, but they can't make the mouth form the words," explained Eli's mom, Beth McIntosh, current president of an organization called Northwest Ohio Apraxia Support.
"I was one of the parents that started the organization two years ago."
The group is now inviting the public to Shake It for a good cause at the Northwest Ohio Apraxia Support Zumbathon, slated for Jan. 31 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Perry Field House on the campus of Bowling Green State University.
The event will feature multiple Zumba® sessions taught by instructors from all over northwest Ohio. Light refreshments will be served.
Participants may arrive any time during the event and dance as little or as much as they'd like.
Registration is $15 for the dance only or $25 for dance and T-shirt. All proceeds will benefit NWO Apraxia Support and be utilized to help those impacted by Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) in northwest Ohio.
Because CAS makes it difficult or impossible for children to accurately produce sounds, syllables or words despite having a good understanding of language, "it requires frequent and intensive therapy," much of which is not covered by insurance.
"Therapy is key," said McIntosh, "because it's a motor planning disorder."
Many, if not most, of the children with apraxia also have co-occurring disorders, such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, or anxiety disorder.
"It looks very different in different children," McIntosh explained. In Eli's case, his CAS episodes are tied to epilepsy-related seizures.
NWO Apraxia Support is a regional non-profit, charitable organization which supports the area families impacted by CAS, and works to raise public awareness. The organization also provides grants to fund supplemental therapies, treatments, activities, or equipment to enhance the lives of individual children with the condition.
"I'm so excited that in the past year we've helped 65 therapists, teachers and individual children to get services or equipment not covered by insurance."
Grant money has gone to each of the elementary buildings in Bowling Green, Toth Elementary in Perrysburg, the Dusty Boots program in Grand Rapids, Wood County Hospital Rehabilitation, the Wood County Public Library Foundation, Elmwood special education classes, and the Perrysburg-ESC Preschool, among others.
Individual children in Bowling Green, Tontogany and Perrysburg have also been helped.
Those interested in taking part in the Jan. 31 Zumbathon may register at or download a paper form at and mail to P.O. Box 800, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402.
Contact McIntosh directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 419-494-9352.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 12:27

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