The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA) will host its 2011 National Conference on Childhood Apraxia of Speech in San Diego, California on July 7 – July 9, at the Paradise Point Resort. This year’s conference theme “Unfolding Potential, Creating Possibilities” will address the use of emerging technology and how it’s being used to assist children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), while still advocating and creating awareness on issues that affect children with CAS.
“In 2004 the national conference started as a parent conference,” said Kathy Hennessy, Director of Education for CASANA, the only national 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity exclusively dedicated to children with CAS and their families. “There was never an opportunity for parents with children with apraxia to learn about all aspects affecting their children, to share, and network—this conference gave them that opportunity. Since then, the conference expanded to include professionals and continues to be the only event of its kind.”
This year, CASANA expects more than 300 families and professionals to attend, representing over 30 states and four other countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland. The conference kicks off on Thursday, July 7 with pre-conference seminars, an opening reception and the Keynote Address, “Apps for Apraxia and Other Special Needs Areas,” delivered by Lynn Carahaly, M.A., CCC-SLP, owner and director of Foundations Developmental House, LLC located in Chandler, Arizona. Friday and Saturday will transition into a series of sessions including topics on assessment, treatment, educational issues, nature of CAS, literacy, older children, and current research by nationally recognized experts. Sessions will be presented by 25 different professionals, all who have generously donated their time, including Heidi Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.; Lauren Franke, Psy.D., CCC-SP; David Hammer, M.A. CCC-SLP; Deborah Hayden, M.A., CCC-SLP (C), Reg. CASLPO; Nancy Kaufman, M.A., CCC-SLP; Ruth Stoeckel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; and Cheryl Stromberg, M.A., CCC-SLP, to name a few.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a very challenging and complicated speech disorder in children. This little known disorder makes it difficult or impossible for children to accurately produce sounds, syllables and/or words despite having a good understanding of language. CASANA, based in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, helps families throughout North America to find appropriate resources; train professionals how to best provide treatment to the children; and to fund and promote proper research for the future generations of children that will be affected.
CASANA was founded in 2000 with the exclusive mission to strengthen the support systems in the lives of children with apraxia, so that each child has their best opportunity to develop speech. In 2004, CASANA held its first annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then taking it around the nation to places including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; St. Paul, Minnesota; Anaheim, California; and Williamsburg, Virginia. In 2006, CASANA launched its Apraxia Treatment Research Fund in order to advance what is known about effective treatment for children with CAS. In 2008, CASANA started the “Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech” as a means to heighten awareness and important funding for their apraxia programs and research. Today, there have been over 82 walks around the world, with more than 7,000 walkers and countless donors who have joined in the effort to raise awareness. In 2010, CASANA marked its tenth anniversary and although a lot has changed in a decade, much remains to be done.