Celebrating Dave Hammer, VP of Programs

Dave Hammer, CCC-SLP, has worked tirelessly to support children and their families for 40 years, first at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh before joining the Apraxia Kids staff. He has influenced this organization from the beginning and will continue to do so long into his well-deserved retirement! Please read on for a special word from Dave.

In my work with CAS, when I would end therapy with a young child, I used a paper chain strategy to help with the transition out of therapy and to aid in dealing with the separation feelings that were taking place.  About 6 weeks before the final session, the child and I would sit at the therapy table and each make 3 parts of the eventual paper chain.  On the long slips of construction paper that would form the individual links, we would draw or use stickers to indicate favorite memories of our therapy time together.  We then connected them and displayed that paper chain in my office.  Each subsequent week, when the session ended, the child would cut a link off the chain and then take it home to start a chain in their bedroom.  So, as the chain grew smaller in my room, the child’s chain grew bigger at home.  It was always with such mixed feelings when that last link of the chain was sent home.

And so it is with my transition out of this field that I have been blessed to be part of, and out of my work in CAS in particular.  The links of my paper chain have been more than I could ever have imagined.  They are impossible to count.  I know they would include the following primary links with lots of little links coming off each of them: (1) the children whom I have seen work so hard to overcome great odds; (2) the parents/caregivers of these children who sacrifice so much for something they never bargained for or expected as part of their parenting journey; (3) the many SLP colleagues who have taught me so much, who have been there as friends and confidants, and who I know will carry on with great things in the future; (4) my family who has been supportive of my travel to share what I could with others across the globe; (5) the Apraxia Kids staff past and present who have helped me to grow not only professionally but personally as well.

It is now less than 6 weeks until I take the last link off my professional chain.  I know in my heart that I have done what I was meant to do in this life because I feel so satisfied as I end my career.  I have no regrets.  I can only hope that the seeds I have planted over the years will have lasting effects – that years from now when I am in an elevator, I will hear people talking about childhood apraxia without me needing to get ready for my elevator speech to let them know what this challenging disorder is all about.  It will be then that I can smile and know that I helped to make a difference.

Dave Hammer, CCC-SLP, has worked tirelessly to support children and their families for 40 years, first at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh before joining the Apraxia Kids staff. He has influenced this organization from the beginning and will continue to do so long into his well-deserved retirement! Please read on for a special word from Dave.

In my work with CAS, when I would end therapy with a young child, I used a paper chain strategy to help with the transition out of therapy and to aid in dealing with the separation feelings that were taking place.  About 6 weeks before the final session, the child and I would sit at the therapy table and each make 3 parts of the eventual paper chain.  On the long slips of construction paper that would form the individual links, we would draw or use stickers to indicate favorite memories of our therapy time together.  We then connected them and displayed that paper chain in my office.  Each subsequent week, when the session ended, the child would cut a link off the chain and then take it home to start a chain in their bedroom.  So, as the chain grew smaller in my room, the child’s chain grew bigger at home.  It was always with such mixed feelings when that last link of the chain was sent home.

And so it is with my transition out of this field that I have been blessed to be part of, and out of my work in CAS in particular.  The links of my paper chain have been more than I could ever have imagined.  They are impossible to count.  I know they would include the following primary links with lots of little links coming off each of them: (1) the children whom I have seen work so hard to overcome great odds; (2) the parents/caregivers of these children who sacrifice so much for something they never bargained for or expected as part of their parenting journey; (3) the many SLP colleagues who have taught me so much, who have been there as friends and confidants, and who I know will carry on with great things in the future; (4) my family who has been supportive of my travel to share what I could with others across the globe; (5) the Apraxia Kids staff past and present who have helped me to grow not only professionally but personally as well.

It is now less than 6 weeks until I take the last link off my professional chain.  I know in my heart that I have done what I was meant to do in this life because I feel so satisfied as I end my career.  I have no regrets.  I can only hope that the seeds I have planted over the years will have lasting effects – that years from now when I am in an elevator, I will hear people talking about childhood apraxia without me needing to get ready for my elevator speech to let them know what this challenging disorder is all about.  It will be then that I can smile and know that I helped to make a difference.



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