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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: Conference take aways 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Conference take aways 2013

The Apraxia conference was incredible to say the least.  On one hand it was information overload, but on the other hand I learned so much.
I was beyond thrilled to meet Sharon Gretz, the founder of CASANA.  What an incredible women and inspiration she is to me, and when I met her she was so down to earth and humble.  We swapped stories and I immediately felt a kinship with her.  It was also amazing to meet her son who was nonverbal at 5 talking and taking pictures of the conference.  She reported he was in college maintaining a 3.25 GPA.  Incredible.
The breakout sessions were awesome.  I was never bored, though by the end I was tired.  I just want to soak up as much as possible.

Some things that really struck me at this conference

- Apraxia could have a sensory feedback component as well as a motor component.  One study showed that kids with CAS had a greater number of vegetative utterances in the first year.  These include things like coughing, hicupping, and burping.  The theory is that perhaps sensory feedback is to blame.

- Kaufman recommends taking sounds in the child's repertoire, and then creating words from it.  She didn't just advocate her picture cards.  She also said she chose items in her picture cards that were of high interest to the child.  However, she also uses pictures on the iPad and in other materials.  She's also not concerned if the child doesn't "remember" or "learn" some of the words since the goal is just to map the motor plan.  For example, she said a child could go their whole life not knowing "oboe" and would probably be fine.

- Kaufman uses a lot of approaches for ABA verbal techniques.  One was called errorless learning, in which you anticipate the child's mistake before they say it and give them a cue to increase success.

- Brain imaging studies show that kids with apraxia have more brain centers lit up during talking tasks then do the neuro-typical peers.  It shows just how hard they are working to talk.

- Children with apraxia are at increased risk for reading difficulties.  Some reading programs that have shown success with children who have apraxia are the LIPS program, which allows a child to learn sound correspondence and sound segmentation receptively, as well as Phonic Faces.

I look forward to attending more conferences in the future!  I also learned about an "Apraxia Bootcamp."  It's a four day intensive training, but some of the top apraxia experts in the country.  It's apparently highly competitive, but I'm up for the challenge.  I'm going to start gaining more experience with apraxia, and already started networking with other colleagues.  I'm excited for what the future brings!

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At July 23, 2013 at 7:49 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you for some of the highlights from the conference. I wasn't able to attend this year. I remember feeling totally overwhelmed when we went to the national conference in San Diego two years ago. I have a background in language and speech development since I teach Deaf/Hard of Hearing students. I have no idea how the "average" parent hung in there.

My favorite part from SD was the college panel. Kids that had severe Apraxia as kids telling us about their journey and what they were doing now. Amazing how far these kids come!

Thank you for sharing.

At July 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Thanks Kelly!
They did have that panel again, but I didn't go because I wanted to attend a different one at the same time. At the end of Nancy Kaufman's presentation though, she showed a video of her doing tx with a severely apraxia 5 year old boy. Then at the end she showed a clip of a handsome, well spoken 18 year old who announced he was the boy in the previous clip and how Nancy helped him find his voice. He was soon off to college. Not a dry eye in the room

At July 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM , Anonymous Kristin Carpenter said...

Great post, Laura. I'm so happy you shared your experiences from the conference. Any other scientific research that interested you?

At July 29, 2013 at 7:47 PM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Thanks Kristin! Oh yes, ALL the scientific research fascinated me. Like I said in the post, the types of sounds that Caspari and her colleague found in babies with apraxia versus not was very interesting, particularly since Ashlynn did have more vegetative sounds like hiccuping. I think it's interesting there is speculation there is a sensory component, especially considering so many kiddos on the board also have SPD.
I missed the genetic talk, but everyone was raving about it. They are finding a genetic component...there just needs to be more research done. I think this is important so that parents can stop endlessly turning over scenarios as to why their child has CAS. if there is a definitive genetic component and/or marker, parents can be comforted that it really wasn't the C section, or the vaccines, or the dairy intolerance, or that they had the flu when they were pregnant etc.


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