The Durham Board of Selectmen has proclaimed May 14 as Apraxia Awareness Day, giving recognition to a young resident with the rare disorder and bringing awareness to this little-known condition.
Apraxia affects the brain’s ability to coordinate muscle movements and speech and can impact all physical movement. It can be acquired by a brain injury, such as an accident or a stroke, or can be congenital.
Five years ago, Clinton Parente, 6, of Durham, was diagnosed with apraxia as well as with an intellectual disability, alacrima-achalasia syndrome. At the time of his diagnosis, Clinton was among only 13 other reported cases worldwide and the first one in the United States.
“We’ve since met with doctors from across the country,” said Clinton’s mother, Heather Parente. “There’s probably around 20 cases documented now. Apraxia is part of his condition.”
A team of speech-language pathologists work with Clinton to help mitigate his condition.
Town officials thanked Heather Parente for opening up about her son’s condition and bringing more awareness to the community.
“Recognizing awareness of this and supporting any efforts for research in this regard is well worth it. People thought that (Clinton) couldn't do things that he is doing today,” said First Selectman Laura Francis. “It’s amazing, and all because of the research that has been conducted.”