Monday, July 14, 2014

Apraxia Conference

So, this past weekend I went to the CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America) Conference.  This is a yearly conference, held in a different city each summer, in which experts in apraxia come to teach speech therapists and parents how to work with children with apraxia.  This year it was in Nashville, Tennessee and it was an awesome experience!  People from 47 states and 6 countries were there.

I shared a hotel room with one of my friends I met at CHAMP Camp last summer and it was WONDERFUL to see her again and talk about our kiddos!  I also got to meet Mary Clare, one of my fav apraxia bloggers and Facebook friends I got to meet In Real Life, and I got to meet Nancy Kaufman, an awesome apraxia expert who Kiddo and I will be going to see in October.  Nancy Kaufman will be working with Kiddo for a four day speech intensive, and I'm excited to see her methods and her ideas for working with Kiddo when we're there.  Here's the four of us all together: awesome moment!! And if that wasn't cool enough, we all went to dinner together with a few other cool people.  :)

Some of the best things I learned:

  • A few strategies for working with Kiddo's social skills.  Kiddo has some issues that I've been at a loss how to work with (eye contact, anxiety, answering questions, spontaneous speech, etc).  I attended a session about ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis) that gave some good ideas, and I talked to the speaker afterwards and asked two specific questions relating to Kiddo.  She gave EXCELLENT suggestions, and Hubster and I now realize we need to look into ABA therapy for Kiddo.  I always thought it was specifically for kids with autism (which Kiddo does not have) but it is for any child with behavioral, social, or communication issues and we think it will be really helpful for Kiddo.
  • I (of course!) learned lots of strategies for working with Kiddo on his speech.  I learned more about cueing, scripting, articulation, prosody, and all those other terms apraxia parents and speech therapists know well and I'm not going to go into here.  I admit I need to learn a lot more of the hand cues, as they really do help Kiddo with his speech and I need to be more consistent in using them. 
  • I learned a few fun activities I can do with Kiddo to get lots of speech practice in.
  • I learned strategies for combining literacy and speech, and also for working on handwriting and other OT-type activities.
  • The conference concluded with a panel of teens who had resolved of their apraxia, answering questions.  It was wonderful to hear them talking like any other teen would, and for them to admit that either they don't really remember speech therapy or that it wasn't a traumatic experience for them, just something that was part of their life and they found fun, and they appreciate now, as they like to be able to talk. ;)  And I loved how one of them said once she was resolved of apraxia they went to Disneyland to celebrate.  Maybe we'll need to do something like that. ;)
Honestly, I could go on and on, but the overall point is I feel more confident in what I should be working on with Kiddo and strategies to do so.  I wish I had been able to attend more sessions, as most of them sounded really good and helpful for working with Kiddo, but they offered five topics during each session and you had to pick one.  Ugh, so tough to choose, especially when they are being offered by such wonderful experts.

And it is just so wonderful to be around people who not only know what apraxia is and how to work with it, but also parents who know the journey oh so well.  

So glad I went!!  Next year it's in San Antonio, TX.


  1. I went last year, but couldn't make it this year. Thanks for the post! I love the Disneyland idea after it is resolved. I definitely plan on being in Texas next year.

    1. That's awesome, Laura! I would love to be able to go next year, but don't know. Tennessee was within driving distance for me so that saved lots of money, going to Texas would require airfare. We shall see...