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08/11/2015 11:20 am ET Updated Dec 28, 2016

Ronda Rousey’s Encouraging Words For Children With Speech Impediments

"Anything can be overcome."

As a child, Ronda Rousey overcame childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a motor speech disorder that makes it harder for kids to say sounds, syllables and words. Now, as UFC's Bantamweight Champion, she has become a vocal advocate for children who have trouble speaking just like she once did. 

In her Monday Reddit AMA, which covered everything from Floyd Mayweather to her favorite "Game of Thrones" characters, Rousey was asked about how a speech therapist helped her beat CAS and keep her confidence high. 

"I love my speech therapist -- I thought she was super cool and I didn't even know I was in speech therapy," she replied. She then sent a message to kids who are currently fighting CAS. 

"I'd like to tell any kid struggling with speech that anything can be overcome with hard work regardless of how insurmountable the odds seem," she said. "Shoutout to all speech therapists. You're all awesome. And the best thing about my recovery was that I was never allowed to feel inferior." 

Growing up with older sisters, a father in the aerospace industry and a mother working as a psychologist, that feeling of inferiority affected Rousey in her early years. She was born with the umbilical cord around her neck, which damaged her vocal cords. For the first six years of her life, nobody knew whether she would ever say an "intelligent sentence,"  Rolling Stone reported in May. 

"I'm dumb, Mom. Maria and Jennifer have the words. I don’t have the words," a young Rousey once said, according to the magazine. 

Through speech therapy and encouragement in nonverbal areas (she excelled in math, science and art in high school), Rousey was able to overcome CAS and become a person whose interviews are confident and sharp. 

In May, she put up a Facebook post about CAS after meeting a girl with apraxia at a book signing in Colorado. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, CAS occurs in 1-2 children out of 1,000

For that 1 child with CAS in 1,000, Rousey's message is clear: Keep fighting.

 

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