Apraxia Monday: Did you Go to Philly?!

I came home with a tote bag full of goodies and a brain about ready to explode.  Did you?  This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of CASANA’s confererence in Philly. 

Okay, I admit I didn’t go to this one–but I was at last year’s conference held right in my own backyard (nearly) of St. Charles, IL –a suburb of Chicago.  It was an empowering experience.  I came home with ideas on how to help my daughter, was able to match names with faces I had only “met” on-line, and hope in my pocket.  But it’s not to say that the experience was easy. 

Last year, the keynote speaker was Larry Shriberg.  He’s really into all of the genetics of apraxia–FOX P 1 & 2 genes and so forth…I was sitting in the audience before the presentation started thinking, “I got this, no problem.  I have a background in nursing.  How hard can this be?”  Well, Dr. Shriberg proved me wrong.  It was hard.  I felt like Iwas back in a college auditorium–thank goodness there wasn’t an exam afterwards! 

I remember sitting in some of the presentations–the one I attended was entitled something like, “Transitions with your children with CAS.”  We talked about ways in which parents can ensure a smooth transition between preschool and kindergarten for our kiddos.  Sharon Gretz, the founder of Apraxia-Kids presented what she did for her own son, Luke when he was a youngster.  She made a beautiful pamphlet/brochure type publication on her home computer.  In it, she had a photo of her son, along with lots of likes and dislikes, information about CAS, how teachers can best help Luke, etc.  It brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t cry very easily.  I think it was then that it really dawned on me just how precious and special my little Kate is despite her CAS.  It was then that I began to understand just how much her CAS will affect her education, her socialization, everything.  I plan to do something similar for Kate when she begins kindergarten in just a few short weeks.  Thanks, Sharon Gretz for presenting this functional  information! 

But there was so much that I learned while I was at the conference last year.  I’ll never be able to put it all in words here.  If you went, give yourself time to get home and decompress a bit.  You may NOT want to look over your materials for a few days.  Sit them aside.  Re-adjust.  If you went to the conference with folks you know, ask them to meet up for “coffee and conference decompression.”  Host them at your home or head to a Starbucks.  Go over your notes and share what you learned from different sessions.  Once you feel up to the task, sit down with your binder of materials and your notes, highlight “good ideas to try” and “action items.”  Make a list.  See how many items you can  mark off your list between now and the next conference next year. 

And give yourselt a pat on the back for reaching out and educating yourself on your child!   

Let me know if you went and what you thought!  I’d love to hear from you.

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