Last year I attended my first Childhood Apraxia of Speech conference. My son had been officially diagnosed for about a year and was beginning kindergarten. Although we had a diagnosis, the support from the community and professionals was just not there. The rareness of the disorder leaves a feeling of isolation and a sense of insecurity when trying to advocate for treatment and educational services. I left the conference last year feeling understood and armed with more resources than I knew what to do with!
Here are reasons I recommend attending this year:
- You come into contact with rooms full of people who can instantly relate to your experience. Before the conference I didn’t talk much about our experience because many people , despite their best intentions, do not fully grasp the daily impact apraxia has on the child, the family and you as the parent. Spending the weekend with other parents and professionals who understand the constant roller coaster ride of fear, sadness, joy and frustration was indescribable. Also, you will meet parents and even children in varying stages of the journey. Meeting teenagers with resolved apraxia gave me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel when I was only able to see the beginning of our journey.
- The professional speakers are experts in apraxia and have an unrelenting passion for working with children and families of CAS. Every. single. one. They are approachable not only during their workshop sessions but anytime you see them roaming around the conference.
- Parents are considered equals. In a workshop you could be sitting next to a speech pathologist, an educator, psychologist or parent and everyone mingles with one another. Although I am a parent, I am also a professional, and I have never been to a conference like this one where everyone freely socializes with one another regardless of status.
- You will walk away with a sense of empowerment. I walked away with a wealth of information on the latest research and a strong feeling of hope. I learned how to step out of the emotional parent role and into advocate at an IEP meeting. This was invaluable to me this past school year , where instead of dreading IEP meetings, I looked forward to them and the strong relationship I formed with my son’s teacher and speech therapist.
For more information on registration and the fantastic speakers: