The Impact of Apraxia Bootcamp and Paying it Forward

In 2011 I came across a poster with information regarding an Advanced Training Institute for Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or “Apraxia Boot Camp.”  At the time, I had been practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 6 years and found my interest in CAS growing rapidly.

Given the low incidence of apraxia (1-2 children in 1000), I often felt that I was on a lonely island with just a few colleagues who were interested in diving deep into CAS. The relative paucity of research did not help this feeling of isolation!

I had read some of the work of seminal authors in the field (e.g. Dr. Edythe Strand, Dr. Ruth Stoeckel, Dr. Kathy Jakielski, Dr. Larry Shriberg, and Dr. Edwin Maas) but without a community of colleagues to discuss the results, I had to only hope that I was interpreting the research correctly and making the best clinical use of the research findings.  With families with young children with CAS on my caseload, I knew I had to do everything possible to be on the cutting edge and provide best practices to each of these children and their families.

As such, when I came across the poster detailing the Advanced Training Institute, it felt like a dream come true! I poured over the application, dotted my i’s, crossed my t’s, and hoped for the best.

I received an acceptance and could hardly believe I was to be one of the very fortunate members of the first ever class of Apraxia Boot Campers!  The experience was certainly a “boot camp” experience.  For that week I ate, slept, and breathed everything to do with CAS and was absolutely elated to be able to geek-out with an amazing group of colleagues who were equally passionate about apraxia of speech!  I felt I knew the least amongst my peers (something I heard nearly every attendee say that week), but this made me think critically about my knowledge, my practice, and my goals, and it pushed me to soak in everything possible.

Additionally, the instructors were my version of rock stars! I spent the days learning from three of the experts in the field: Ruth Stoeckel, Dave Hammer, and Kathy Jakielski!! We all shared meals and long discussions in the evenings.  I had the opportunity to engage in deep discussions regarding the research, clinical implications of the research, what evidence-based practice looks like, and how to implement and disseminate that knowledge. I was no longer an island unto myself!

I immediately implemented many changes to my clinical practice and best of all, I found my tribe. Now, when I have questions or challenging clinical cases, I have a community of fellow boot camper colleagues alongside CAS experts around the world.  My clinical practice continues to improve with an exceptional support system. I continually find myself reaching out to my colleagues and my mentors, and the results are profound in the progress I see in my clinical practice and outcomes for children with CAS.

As a graduate of the Apraxia Kids Boot Camp, and now as an Apraxia Kids Outreach Coordinator for my region, I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of paying forward the gifts of the Advanced Training Institute.  I have increased confidence in my ability to provide appropriate services to the children I see, to consult with colleagues both within my private practice and in other settings, and to educate parents and caregivers about their child’s speech disorder.  Each speaking engagement, collaboration with colleagues, and steps taken to help parents of children with CAS has a circular impact on reinforcing my own clinical practice.

As a graduate of the 2011 Childhood Apraxia of Speech Advanced Training Institute, I am both humbled and proud to pay forward the dissemination of knowledge of best practice to better the outcomes for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

In 2011 I came across a poster with information regarding an Advanced Training Institute for Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or “Apraxia Boot Camp.”  At the time, I had been practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 6 years and found my interest in CAS growing rapidly.

Given the low incidence of apraxia (1-2 children in 1000), I often felt that I was on a lonely island with just a few colleagues who were interested in diving deep into CAS. The relative paucity of research did not help this feeling of isolation!

I had read some of the work of seminal authors in the field (e.g. Dr. Edythe Strand, Dr. Ruth Stoeckel, Dr. Kathy Jakielski, Dr. Larry Shriberg, and Dr. Edwin Maas) but without a community of colleagues to discuss the results, I had to only hope that I was interpreting the research correctly and making the best clinical use of the research findings.  With families with young children with CAS on my caseload, I knew I had to do everything possible to be on the cutting edge and provide best practices to each of these children and their families.

As such, when I came across the poster detailing the Advanced Training Institute, it felt like a dream come true! I poured over the application, dotted my i’s, crossed my t’s, and hoped for the best.

I received an acceptance and could hardly believe I was to be one of the very fortunate members of the first ever class of Apraxia Boot Campers!  The experience was certainly a “boot camp” experience.  For that week I ate, slept, and breathed everything to do with CAS and was absolutely elated to be able to geek-out with an amazing group of colleagues who were equally passionate about apraxia of speech!  I felt I knew the least amongst my peers (something I heard nearly every attendee say that week), but this made me think critically about my knowledge, my practice, and my goals, and it pushed me to soak in everything possible.

Additionally, the instructors were my version of rock stars! I spent the days learning from three of the experts in the field: Ruth Stoeckel, Dave Hammer, and Kathy Jakielski!! We all shared meals and long discussions in the evenings.  I had the opportunity to engage in deep discussions regarding the research, clinical implications of the research, what evidence-based practice looks like, and how to implement and disseminate that knowledge. I was no longer an island unto myself!

I immediately implemented many changes to my clinical practice and best of all, I found my tribe. Now, when I have questions or challenging clinical cases, I have a community of fellow boot camper colleagues alongside CAS experts around the world.  My clinical practice continues to improve with an exceptional support system. I continually find myself reaching out to my colleagues and my mentors, and the results are profound in the progress I see in my clinical practice and outcomes for children with CAS.

As a graduate of the Apraxia Kids Boot Camp, and now as an Apraxia Kids Outreach Coordinator for my region, I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of paying forward the gifts of the Advanced Training Institute.  I have increased confidence in my ability to provide appropriate services to the children I see, to consult with colleagues both within my private practice and in other settings, and to educate parents and caregivers about their child’s speech disorder.  Each speaking engagement, collaboration with colleagues, and steps taken to help parents of children with CAS has a circular impact on reinforcing my own clinical practice.

As a graduate of the 2011 Childhood Apraxia of Speech Advanced Training Institute, I am both humbled and proud to pay forward the dissemination of knowledge of best practice to better the outcomes for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.



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