Woman with verbal apraxia: 'Don't ever give up'

CINCINNATI -- Imagine having something to say, but not being able to get it out.

Joanna Bendel has speech apraxia, a rare condition that makes speaking difficult. But she wants people to know she can communicate. She has her own YouTube channel to show other young people they can do anything, from going to prom to taking a family vacation, despite having a speech disorder.

She works hard at making the most of her situation.

"Her personality and her overall sense of humor and joking has helped her get through it," said her mom, Gretchen Bendel.

Joanna even has two jobs. The experience has been invaluable.

"They just talk to me like I am a normal co-worker like them," she said.

Joanna has gone through a lot of speech therapy for her verbal apraxia. Since she's working now, she has a lot of words and phrases she wants to perfect. 

She also has an app on her phone that can speak words for her, but she's working with a speech pathologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to use her own voice more.

This month is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Joanna's advice to other young people is to not give up. Her mother's advice to other parents is to use available resources in the community.

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