August 11, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.
New boards at Hudson Family Park

Communication help

New boards installed at Hudson Family Park
New communication boards have been installed at Hudson Family Park in Portland. Liz and Baxter Holdcroft spearheaded the effort as 5-year-old son Beau (pictured) has childhood apraxia of speech, a rare disorder in which children have trouble controlling their lips, jaws and tongues when speaking. (Photo provided)
New communication boards have been installed at Hudson Family Park in Portland. Liz and Baxter Holdcroft spearheaded the effort as 5-year-old son Beau (pictured) has childhood apraxia of speech, a rare disorder in which children have trouble controlling their lips, jaws and tongues when speaking. (Photo provided)

Beau Holdcroft is an outgoing child.

When he goes to local parks, he wants to play with the children who are there. They want to play with him.

He sometimes struggles, though, to communicate what he wants to do or where he needs to go.

Holdcroft’s parents recently took a step to help their son, and others who have challenges with communication, by installing new communication boards at the playground at Hudson Family Park.

“We want to help him, but we also want to help other kids and other parents,” said Liz Holdcroft, Beau’s mom. “You don’t know what everybody is going through until they share it.”

As she and her husband Baxter worked with their son, they learned about other children in the community with similar situations.

“We want to help get them in the right direction.”

Beau was approaching 2 years old when his parents began realizing he was behind his peers in terms of speech and communication. It was during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which made in-person speech therapy difficult, so he started working first with a developmental therapist and then started speech therapy through First Steps when it was available. (First Steps is a state program that helps children who have developmental delays or disabilities from birth to age 3.)

When he aged out of First Steps, he started speech therapy through Jay School Corporation and the Ball State University Speech-Language Clinic. At home, they also started working on sign language.

Beau’s doctor and therapists agreed his challenges were likely being caused by childhood apraxia of speech, a rare disorder in which children have trouble controlling their lips, jaws and tongues when speaking.


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