Virtual Education Series


Speaker Bios

Leesa Anthony, MS, CCC-SLP
Leesa Anthony, MS, CCC-SLP, is currently a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist working at Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), which is a large urban school district with more than 80,000 students. Her more than 28 years of pediatric work experience in the North Texas area has included medical, contract, home health, and public schools. Leesa was chosen to attend the initial CAS Intensive 3-Day Training Workshop presented by Dr. Edythe Strand at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, in April of 2016. She has attended numerous continuing education presentations and workshops as well as the National Conferences on Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  Leesa provides consultative services to her fellow Speech-Language Pathologists at FWISD who have students that are suspected or identified as having Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

Sarah Bald, PsyD
Dr. Sarah Bald is a psychologist at Beljan Psychological Services and obtained her Doctoral and Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology at the Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Phoenix. Dr. Bald’s clinical experience includes child and family psychotherapy, social skills development, and pediatric neuropsychology. She also assists families in navigating the special education process through education and advocacy. Dr. Bald is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Arizona Psychological Association (AzPA).

Molly Beiting MA, CCC-SLP
Molly Beiting is a licensed speech language pathologist and Doctoral Candidate in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Temple University. Molly’s current research focuses on identifying individual-level predictors of treatment success for children in speech therapy for childhood apraxia of speech. Molly’s long-term goal is to address the clinically significant need for effective, generalizable interventions for children with complex communication profiles.

Paul Beljan PsyD, ABPdN, ABN
Dr. Paul Beljan is a licensed pediatric and adult neuropsychologist who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neuropsychological disorders and has extensive clinical work with ADHD, executive functioning, developmental disorders, and learning disorders. Dr. Beljan is widely published and is an expert in evaluating and understanding gifted children and their common misdiagnoses and dual-diagnoses.

Jenny Bjorem MA, CCC-SLP
Jennie Bjorem is recognized for her advanced training and expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech by Apraxia Kids and has previously presented at the Apraxia Kids National Conference. She is the owner of Children’s Therapy Services in Leawood, Kansas and the creator of The Bjorem Speech Sound Cues. She also has a great understanding from a parent’s perspective as she has a young child with special needs.

Lyndsay Bourdeau, MSc-SLP
Lyndsay Bourdeau is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) living and working in Alberta, Canada. She has been a SLP for 13 years with a primary focus of preschool ages children. In 2016, she completed her first intensive training for work with children with speech-motor learning involvement and have continued her learning and training in this area since then.

Lynn Carahaly, MA, CCC-SLP
Lynn Carahaly is the owner and Executive Director of Foundations Developmental House, LLC, located in Gilbert, AZ and is also the developer of The Speech-EZ® Apraxia Program. Her area of specialization is with the treatment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), language-based learning disabilities (i.e. reading and spelling impairments, written expression), auditory processing disorders, ADHD/Executive Functioning Deficit (EFD), as well as social communication disorders. Lynn serves as an expert witness involving due processes cases requiring speech-language pathology expertise.

Sarah Carmody, MS, CCC-SLP
Sarah Carmody practices at the Nemours AI du Pont Hospital for Children in Deptford, New Jersey. Her therapeutic focus is with children age birth to 21, with communication challenges including speech and language impairment, social pragmatic difficulties, voice disorders, feeding impairment, CAS and other motor speech impairments. Among many other credentials, Sarah is fluent in French and Spanish and is also a proud graduate of the Apraxia Kids Intensive Training Institute.

Karen Chenausky, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Karen Chenausky is a speech scientist and speech pathologist whose research programs aim to understand why some children fail to acquire spoken language and what we can do to help them learn to communicate. Dr. Chenausky’s clinical background includes experience with individuals with autism, as well as children with speech sound disorders and adults with a variety of motor speech disorders. Among years of research experience, Dr. Chenausky is also currently working on two research projects related to CAS.

Isabelle Demosthenes, MPO, reg. OOAQ
Isabelle Demosthenes is a registered member of l’Ordre des Orthophonistes et Audiologistes du Quebec. She completed her matrise professionnelle en orthophonie at University de Montreal in 2005. After seven years as a school-based speech therapist in classes for children with special needs, she now is a private practice clinician in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. She provides services in French to children aged 18 months to 10 years old presenting a variety of communication challenges (speech sound disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, developmental language disorder, autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome, developmental delays, cognitive impairments, etc.) Isabelle is also a PROMPT Instructor and a proud graduate of the 2018 Apraxia Kids intensive training program.

Elaine Dolgin-Lieberman, MA, CCC-SLP
Elaine Dolgin-Lieberman is a pediatric speech-language pathologist working in private practice, with a special interest in treating children with motor speech sound disorders. Elaine is a member of the Apraxia Kids Professional Advisory Council, has presented on evidence-based therapy strategies at Apraxia Kids National Conferences, and is recognized by Apraxia Kids as having Advanced Training and Clinical Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Elaine also teaches an annual summer elective on Childhood Apraxia of Speech at Mercy College.

Amanda Drawbaugh
Amanda Drawbaugh is a physical therapist who has been practicing for 10 years. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Bellarmine University (2010). Amanda has experience in outpatient orthopedics, neurology and pediatric therapy. She enjoys the study of normal and atypical movement patterns with the impact for total body function. She started co-treating with Mary and Lisa Sheff OTR/L 3 years ago where they have been able to identify postural issues and motor planning issues that impact speech and overall developmental milestones.

Gary Fernando, MD, FAAP
Dr. Gary Fernando is a board-certified pediatrician at the University of Chicago Medicine South Loop in Chicago, IL. Dr. Fernando received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, Rockford. He then received his certification from the American Board of Pediatrics. His extensive knowledge base and clinical experience ensure that the children receive the best treatment available.He is careful and patient during his examinations and works together with the parents to provide a healthy lifestyle to the young ones. He strives to educate individuals on wellness and ensures a positive experience for them at the practice.

Brittany Furnari, MS, CCC-SLP
Brittany Furnari is a full-time speech-language pathologist at the DePaul School for Hearing & Speech and a part-time speech-language pathologist at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sewickley. Brittany specializes in treating children ages 3 to 15 years-old with varying degrees of aided hearing loss and a co-occurring childhood apraxia of speech. Brittany is a member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association’s Special Interest Group 9 (i.e., Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood), listed in the Apraxia Kids’ professional SLP Directory, and has been a volunteer for Apraxia Kids’ organization since 2012.

Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann, BA, MA, PhD
Dr. Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann is Professor and Chair in Speech and Hearing Sciences and also ruls the Monolingual and Bilingual Speech Lab at Portand State University in Oregon. She is Fellow of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Sh conducts research on speech development and disorder, assessment, and treatment efficacy for speech sound disorders, with emphases on bilingual Spanish-English populations and childhood apraxia of speech. Dr. Gildersleeve-Neumann is a member of the Apraxia Kids Professional Advisory Council.

Kay Giesecke, MS, CCC-SLP
Kay Giesecke, MS, CCC-SLP, a master’s level SLP, was a public school SLP for 11 years and has been a private SLP for 27 years, specializing in CAS for the last 24 years. Kay founded two private practices in Texas that specialize in treating CAS. She has both participated and taught numerous sessions and workshops on CAS for school districts, regional professional associations, 12 Texas state conventions, one ASHA convention, 5 Apraxia Kids national conferences, and at three Texas universities and 3 international universities. For the last 6 years, Kay has also organized and hosted 4-day residential summer camps at her ranch in Texas for elementary school aged children with CAS.

Jenya Iuzzini-Seigel, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Iuzzini-Seigel is Assistant Professor and Director of the Communication, Movement, and Learning Lab at Marquette University. Her research focuses on communication development and its disorder with specific focus on the diagnosis and treatment of childhood apraxia of speech.

Lisa Kohel BEd, MSLP, RSLP
Lisa Kohel is from Alberta, Canada and has been practicing as a Speech Language Pathologist since 2005. She currently coordinates the Intensive Services Program for children with Severe Speech Disorders and Childhood Apraxia of Speech in a school division in Alberta. Lisa is also a Canadian Ambassador for Apraxia Kids.

Lou LaVecchia, Apraxia Kids Board Member
Lou LaVecchia joined Apraxia Kids as a board member in 2016. His son Jayden was diagnosed with severe Apraxia of speech at 4 years old, presently Jayden has been declared resolved. Lou has a proven record of working with his school district to improve the appropriate services for children in need of speech services. He has presented seminars at the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Apraxia Kids National Conferences. He works to raise awareness through local events, including attending walks for Apraxia.

Edwin Maas, Ph.D.
Edwin Maas received a masters degree in neurolinguistics from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), and worked as a clinical linguist at the Rotterdam Aphasia Foundation before pursuing his Ph.D. in language and communicative disorders from San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. His early research focused on verb and sentence processing in aphasia and basic mechanisms of sentence comprehension. His interest in treatment research led him to shift focus to speech production and its disorders. To supplement his background and training in neurolinguistics, he obtained postdoctoral training at Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a focus on speech motor control. He joined Temple University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2015. As Co-Director of the Speech, Language, and Brain Laboratory (SLAB Lab), he conducts research on speech production across the lifespan in unimpaired individuals and in various populations with speech and/or language disorders, such as aphasia, apraxia of speech, and phonological disorders.

Sandra Mamodhoussen

Mary McLaurine M.SP, CCC-SLP
Mary McLaurine is a Speech-Language Pathologist with nearly 40 years of experience. She earned the Master of Speech Pathology from the University of South Carolina and has the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Mary and professional collegues explored the use of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy in tandem for treatment of CAS.

Jeff Mills
I’m the father of two (Carson, 17 and Cooper 13). Cooper is now 13 years old and is essentially resolved and will be going into 8th grade. He was diagnosed at 18 months and was in speech therapy from diagnosis until he was 11 years old. He also had occupational therapy for  one year at the age of two. He continues to receive accommodations in school and will be tested again for high school accommodations this summer.

Angela Muis BA, SLP-A
Angela Muis joined the apraxia community in 2011 when her son, Huxley, was diagnosed with CAS. The incredible support Angela’s family received from the apraxia community ignited her passion for supporting other families on the same journey. Inspired by the amazing professionals in our community, Angela completed a Speech- Language Pathologist Assistant graduate diploma and now works as a Communication Disorders Assistant at Centrepointe Professional Services in Ottawa, Ontario. She also works as private reading instructor to a small number of clients with speech and language disorders including apraxia. Angela actively volunteers as an Apraxia Kids Canadian Ambassador, administrator of the Apraxia Kids Canada Facebook group, and chair of a small team of Canadians working closely with Apraxia Kids to expand supports for Canadian apraxia community.

Marcus Neal, MS, CCC-SLP
Marcus provides speech-language services to children ranging in ages from 2-14 years old with a wide variety of motor speech, language, and developmental disorders. He works at a small private practice that focuses on providing family-focused therapy integrating all aspects of PROMPT into every session. Marcus graduated from the University of Texas and later received his Masters degree from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He holds his national Certificate of Clinical Competence and is licensed in the state of Texas. He has been using PROMPT Therapy since 2004.

Amy Salera
Amy has been an advocate in the apraxia community since her own son was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) in 2016.  Using her experience as a parent, she works hard to spread awareness about CAS, educate other parents and pre-professionals about common struggles and achievements of this disorder, and connect individuals to the programs offered by Apraxia Kids.  She strives to normalize the conversation about childhood apraxia of speech so families can navigate their journey with the best supports possible.

Lisa Sheff OTR/L
Lisa Sheff received her Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University. She learned about NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment) and PNF(Proprioceptive Neurmuscular Fascilitation) while attending college from certified instructors. She has been treating children in the early intervention program for 21 years. Together with other field professionals, Lisa has been investigating fine and gross motor components and treatments to children with CAS.

Ruth Stoeckel, PhD, CCC-SLP
Ruth Stoeckel, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist recently retired from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She has worked as a clinician and independent consultant in schools, private practice, private rehabilitation agency, and clinic. Dr. Stoeckel is the author of ASHA web courses on diagnosis and treatment of CAS. She is on the professional advisory board of Apraxia Kids. In addition to childhood motor speech disorders, interests include learning challenges associated with an early history of speech language problems and speech-language development in children with low-incidence disorders such as hearing loss. Dr. Stoeckel has presented both nationally and internationally and has co-authored articles appearing in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research and Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Michelle Leigh
Michelle is the founder of Apraxia Momma Bear, an educational advocate, and a five year walk coordinator for Apraxia Kids. After her son Ryder’s diagnosis, it became her lifelong mission to make his voice, and that of every other child living with apraxia, heard. Since his original diagnosis, several others have followed including dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder (SPD), dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD. Michelle is a frequent guest writer for Scary Mommy, The Mighty, and The Florida Times Union. She has also garnered numerous media spotlights. Her focus is educating and supporting families dealing with similar issues while raising awareness for apraxia.

Priscila Tamplain, PhD, Motor Neuroscience
Dr. Priscila Tamplain is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her research focuses on assessment, mechanisms, and interventions in typical and atypical populations, with a particular interest in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and associated conditions. Dr. Tamplain is extensively published in the area of motor development, and is currently conducting cutting-edge research to look at novel ways to determine outcomes of interventions in DCD. She was a past recipient of the Lolas E. Halverson Motor Development Young Investigator Award (2013), a distinction given in recognition of outstanding contributions to her research in motor development and learning, and the NASPSPA Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award (2017).

Shelley Velleman BA, MA, PhD, ASHA Fellow, NAP Fellow, Member of Apraxia Kids Professional Advisory Council
Dr. Shelley Velleman completed her doctorate in Linguistics, with a specialization in Child Phonology, at the University of Texas at Austin. She has earned masters degrees in Applied English Linguistics and in Speech-Language Pathology. Dr. Velleman is currently Professor and Chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont. Her teaching, research, and clinical work focus on typical and atypical speech development. With respect to typical speech development, she has researched prelinguistic vocalizations, early words, and the early speech development of children learning a variety of languages and dialects. With respect to atypical speech development, she specializes in pediatric motor speech disorders, especially Childhood Apraxia of Speech. She has authored many articles and book chapters and three books on these topics. She has presented peer-reviewed papers at scientific conferences and invited clinical workshops around the United States and around the world. Dr. Velleman is an ASHA Fellow and a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice. She has been a member of the Apraxia-Kids Professional Advisory Council since 2000.