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Raising Awareness of Speech Apraxia

In my blog introduction, I explain that I have Global Dyspraxia that impacts on my whole body, the most obvious when you meet me is its impact on my speech. This led to me being wrongly diagnosed at an early age. That was a ‘fun’ experience as I understood everything but couldn’t shout at them to tell them what I thought.

Luckily I have a tenacious family and a grandmother with numerous degrees in education including an M.Ed in assessment and learning. I was privately assessed for a text-based voice-output communication aid. Within two minutes I said, ‘I’m hungry can we go home’; I was ten years old. Subsequently, we won the legal tribunal we took out against the local education authority, for failure to meet my needs. It was greatly helped by us employing for many years a consultant educational psychologist who was fantastic. She observed me in schools and carried out assessments on verbal reasoning etc. At the age of eleven I was acknowledged as intelligent. That disparity between speech output and assessed intelligence is what leads to a diagnosis of developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD; UK) or childhood apraxia of speech (CAS;USA).

My poor early education resulted in me having a diagnosis of PTSD for which I’m still having weekly EEG Neurofeedback. Would you believe that I received no speech and language therapy (SaLT) during my early years education other than private sessions funded by my family. Since I was eleven, I have had specialist SaLT in America and a fully-funded specialist home education programme. I have risen quickly through all levels of school education and intend to go to university in the next few years. My academic progress demonstrated the level of untapped ability and knowledge.

My speech is developing gradually through a specialist programme although I am wary of using it with people I don’t know. I have a realistic goal of having an increasing foundation of words and functional phrases, that I can use. I still have a US-based SaLT who I visit annually; she sets the programme and a trained team who deliver it. We regularly video my targeted programme and share them via iCloud and have Zoom meetings with the SaLT.

My whole programme is broader than SaLT and encompasses strategies for learning, vision and exercises for strength which is important in dyspraxia; it is modified as I make progress. My grandmother has a balance between her consultancy and managing the programme like a military operation. I know her skills are greatly valued by others and I try not to take her for granted!

I know I am no longer that damaged little boy but inside he is still part of me; I struggle at times but then don’t we all. The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of the general tendency to equate speech difficulties or use of communication aids with a cognitive deficit. There’s a ‘does he take sugar mentality’ so people tend not to talk to you.

  • People are often uncomfortable when there is a speech deficit of any type and fill the vacuum with too much talk or ignore.
  • Slow down and look at the person and say something and wait for them to respond because most people will acknowledge verbally or physically in some way and human communication is often non-verbal anyway. Take the time to communicate.
  • If someone uses a communication aid use the same approach just include them in a conversation even if it’s a group.

In my team when we have a debate, we all use iPads and what a leveller that is. I interview all potential team members which current team members love sitting in on. Each candidate is given an iPad with a QWERTY key board voice output app. The increase in anxiety is tangible. All candidates have good psychology degrees with other experience. One candidate told me how she was planning to work her way through all ‘conditions’ then apparently was going to be a research fellow and cure the world. I am usually polite but always measured in my response. She was left in no uncertainty as to why I wouldn’t employ her.

If you passed me in the street you wouldn’t see any difference. I nod and smile to people when they let me pass or when they smile as they pass, which people do.

My message is simple. Stop being uncomfortable or afraid and actually look at and see the person; not their deficit.

My next blogs will spotlight individuals who are braver than me in taking action to raise awareness.

Low Carb Sticky Toffee Pudding

I made this for Xmas lunch. Please note though that I doubled the original recipe which made six small individual puddings. I also added fresh raspberries and drizzled Keto syrup over the top before serving. I’ve made this pudding several times before; it’s delicious as a topping over a base of stewed apple sweetened with erythritol and baked. This might look difficult but its not and it’s a seriously delicious dessert. If you’ve got a Keto syrup I wouldn’t bother making the sauce. I put parchment paper discs in the bottom of the ramekins so the finished cakes didn’t stick. Try it as it’s worth making.

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Servings: 2 puddings

Nutrition per pudding: (original recipe): Calories 344 | Total Fat 33g | Saturated Fat 12g | Carbohydrates 7g | Net Carbohydrates 5g | Fibre 2g | Sugar 1g | Protein 9g

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled (I used lactose-free butter)
  • 2 tbsp double cream (I used a plant-based double cream)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (I used gluten-free baking powder)
  • 2 tsp sweetener
  • 1/2 cup almond flour

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp sweetener
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • pinch of low-carb thickener, optional

NOTE: I doubled the recipe as I wanted to make enough puddings for 4 people. I also chose not to make the sauce, as I already had a Keto Sugar-free maple syrup.

Method:

Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.

In a large bowl, mix together the egg yolk, melted butter, double cream, baking powder, and sweetener, until fully incorporated.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, set aside.

To the egg yolk, butter and cream mixture, stir in the almond flour to make a thick paste.

I chose to also fold in some fresh raspberries into my mixture.

Next fold through the egg whites, being careful to not knock the air out.

Spoon the mixture into individual ramekins. Place on a baking tray & bake for around 10-12 minutes, or until the centre is cooked.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack / plate.

Sauce

To make the sauce, add butter, sweetener, and water to a small pan. Bring to a boil and cook for around 5 minutes, add a pinch of thickener if using, and whisk until thickened.

NOTE: I chose not to make the sauce as I already had a keto maple syrup which I used instead.

Place the pudding onto a plate, and pour / drizzle the sauce over the top – I also added fresh raspberries to the top of mine.

Keto Pie Crust

It’s been cold here in the UK, and I fancied a warm hearty chicken pot pie. I wanted to try a new keto pie crust and found this recipe. This seemed simple to make, and once cooked was buttery and had a nice crisp texture. The pie dough was easy to make, and it was just like a traditional pastry recipe. I made a quick chicken pie filling using up what we had in the fridge. The pie was delicious, and met all our needs: warm and filling.

This is a very good basic pie crust recipe to have in your cooking repertoire and is versatile, in that it can be used for sweet and savoury dishes. I think next time I will try making a key lime pie and see if it withstands the soggy bottom test. Only those of you who watch the Great British Bakeoff will understand what I mean.

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 12 mins | Servings: 12

Nutrition per serving: Calories 131 | Carbs 4g | Protein 4g | Fat 12g |  Fibre 2g | Net Carbs 2g

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (I used lactose-free butter)
  • 1 large egg

Chicken Pie Filling: (this is a favourite family recipe)

  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 600g chicken breast, diced
  • 1 punnet of mushrooms
  • 300g spinach, chopped
  • 300ml homemade chicken bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon, xanthan gum to thicken the sauce

Method

  • In a bowl, combine your pie crust dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Next, add the melted butter and egg and mix until combined.
  • Using your hands, shape the dough into a smooth ball and cover it with clingfilm.
  • Place it in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch pie dish and set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the clingfilm.
  • Place the ball of dough between two pieces of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin to roll it out into 1/4 inch of thickness.
  • You can either transfer the dough to a pie dish and blind bake for around 10-12 minutes, or you can add a filling and bake everything together.

(As I was making a chicken pie with a pie crust topping, I made the filling first and added the rolled pie dough on top).

  • To make my filling, I melted some butter in a large pan.
  • I then added leek, chicken, mushrooms, and seasoning.
  • Cook for 10-12 mins until the chicken is browned, and the leeks softened.
  • Next I added the chicken broth, and some spinach, as well as a teaspoon of xantham gum to thicken the mixture.
  • Once cooked, I transferred the filling to my pie dish.
  • Place the rolled dough on top of your filling, and press the edges of the dough to the side of the dish. Score the middle of the pie to allow steam out.
  • Cook in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the pie crust is golden.
  • Once cooked, remove your pie from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Serve and enjoy!!

Air Fryer Pizza Rolls

With the cost of living crisis here in the UK, we have started using the air fryer more. I have been testing out air fryer recipes, and came across this one for pizza rolls. They were simple to make, and ingredients can easily be added or changed, depending on your flavour of choice. I went for classic cheese and ham, and enjoyed them straight from the air fryer warm and crisp. Next time I might add mushrooms or pepperoni. These are great if you want a quick and easy snack! I would recommend you try them, and suggest you flip them halfway through cooking to ensure there’s an even crisp! For the second batch I put parchment paper in the bottom of the air fryer basket to reduce sticking. I would recommend making up a batch of the self-raising flour as I’ve used it in other recipes and it gives good results.

Prep time: 1 min | Cook time: 7 mins | Servings: 8 rolls

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Fibre: 1g | Net Carbs: 19g

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough (see ingredients below)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I used low-carb ready-made marinara sauce)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used lactose-free cheddar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Dough ingredients:

Homemade self-raising flour ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used gluten-free flour)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder (I used gluten-free baking powder)

Method:

  • Combine all your flour ingredients in a large bowl, whisk together, until fully combined.
  • Next, prepare the dough by combining plain yoghurt with the homemade flour, until combined. Roll into a ball.
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured surface.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape, around half an inch in thickness.
  • Spread the pizza sauce on top, leaving room around the perimeter of the dough.
  • Add the cheese and pizza toppings of choice. I added some ham to mine.
  • The roll the dough, like you would a Swiss roll.
  • Use a wet knife to slice into 8 portions.
  • Lightly grease an air fryer basket.
  • Brush the exterior of the pizza rolls and place them in the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry at 200C/400F for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Remove the pizza rolls from the air fryer and serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!!

Keto Thai Curry with Coconut Cauliflower Rice

I had a yearning for a different curry and found this Thai curry recipe. I didn’t want to make the curry paste as I had an authentic one in the fridge. This is very easy to make and the flavour sublimely fragrant. I didn’t see the need for bean sprouts or adding a wedge of lime. Instead, I added baby spinach to enhance the nutritional value plus it needed to be used. The finished flavour met my needs after tasting, so check its to your taste if you make it. I would recommend the authenticity of this recipe.

Although I eat cauliflower rice with curries or stir fries, I’m not a great fan of the taste. I got very enthusiastic when I saw this cauliflower rice recipe. I used frozen cauliflower rice for convenience. I found that toasting the coconut improved the flavour, as well as the coconut oil and coconut milk. It took cauli rice to a new level.

The two elements of the meal worked very well together, finished off with spring onion. I recommend this recipe to you, its simple to make and flavourful. I would suggest a good quality Thai green curry paste. If you try it let me know what you think.

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Servings: 4

Nutrition for curry (per 250g): Calories: 685kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Net Carbs: 5g

Nutrition for cauliflower rice (serving size 1/2 cup): Calories: 93 | Fat: 9g | Carbohydrates: 5g | Fibre: 2g | Net Carbs: 3g | Protein: 3g

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Green Curry Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1.5 pounds Chicken Thighs, diced (I used chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (I didn’t add this as we had run out)
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 ounces Green Beans, sliced
  • 3 ounces Broccoli, halved
  • ½ cup Bean Sprouts (I didn’t have any fresh beansprouts so added baby spinach instead)
  • Lime Wedges (I tasted the curry and didn’t think it would enhance the flavour)

Ingredients for Coconut Cauliflower Rice:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, riced (I used two bags of frozen cauliflower rice)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup canned full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I toasted this a little to bring out the flavour)
  • 4 spring onions, whites to light green parts sliced

Method

  • Place a pan over high heat and add the green curry paste.
  • Saute for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the coconut oil and saute for another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Next, add the chicken, mix well and brown for 3-5 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is browned, add the coconut milk and fish sauce (if using).
  • Mix well, taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Add the green beans and broccoli and simmer for 2 minutes, until tender.
  • Whilst the curry is simmering, start your cauliflower rice.
  • Cut cauliflower into florets, and add to a food processor, and blend until consistency is that of rice. (or use frozen cauliflower rice)
  • Next heat some coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add the cauliflower rice, and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the coconut milk, and dessicated coconut, cook for another 5 minutes Or toast some of the dessicated coconut separately
  • Taste the rice for doneness, if it’s still hard continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. (I found the frozen cauliflower rice needed longer to be tender)
  • Remove the rice from heat, then top with some chopped spring onions.
  • Once the curry is cooked, serve topped with bean sprouts (if wanted), and a side of cauliflower rice.
  • Enjoy!

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

We have Victorian apple trees in our garden. I wanted to find recipes which would use up the apples, so they would not go to waste. With the weather getting colder here in the UK, I really wanted something which could be versatile and be either a comforting snack, or a filling breakfast. I’ve always enjoyed an apple pie, so this recipe seemed like a real winner.

It was simple to make and the taste was wonderful, the oats had tons of flavour and a rich creamy texture. They were truly ‘apple pie infused’! Given the amount of apples we had, I already had a batch of homemade stewed apples sweetened with erythropoietin, so I skipped the step in the recipe for cooking down the apples.

My family and I enjoyed the oats for breakfast, they where described as ‘the best ever’! We enjoyed them so much that the next time we make them we will have to double if not triple the ingredients. Yes, they were really that good! Sometimes we need some carbs especially when it’s cold.

I highly recommend you try them for yourselves, not only are they a healthy and nourishing meal or snack, but they’re also relatively cheap to make using up ingredients you already have in your cupboards. You can eat them cold or heat them for a minute in the microwave.

Prep time: 6 hours 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Servings: 2

Nutrition (serving 1): Calories: 247 | Carbs: 40.5 g | Protein: 5.5 g | Fat: 7.8 g | Saturated Fat: 1.3 g | Fibre: 6.1 g | Net Carbs: 34.4 g | Sugar: 18.6 g

Ingredients:

Apples:

  • 3/4 cup crisp, sweet apple, cut into small bite-size pieces (I used chunky stewed apple made from home grown apples)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used Keto maple syrup)
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Overnight oats:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk, or milk of your choice (I used KoKo unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used Keto maple syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon creamy unsalted cashew or almond butter (I used sugar free, smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I used gluten-free oats)

Method:

Apples (I didnt need to do these steps)

  • To a small saucepan, add the chopped apples, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt and mix to evenly distribute the cinnamon.
  • Turn heat on low and cover.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the apples are soft and tender.
  • Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring constantly, to evaporate some of the juices and create a nice syrup around the apples.
  • Once most of the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and set aside.

Oats:

  • In a small bowl, mix the milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon, nut butter, and vanilla.
  • Add the oats and stir until well-combined.
  • Get two small mason jars or small bowls with lids.
  • Place about a quarter of the cooked apple mixture into the bottom of each container.
  • Next, add half the oat mixture to each as your middle layer, divide and place the rest of the cooked apples on top of the oats.
  • Place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  • Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.