My husband and I were lucky enough to attend a conference sponsored by CASANA at the University of Harford. It was geared towards parents and run by Donna Lederman. She is a very experienced SLP, especially in the world of CAS, and operates her office out of Long Island, NY. She uses the prompt method for treatment.
It was about an hour and half long and included a power point presentation describing the symptoms of CAS and the difficulties in diagnosing it. She also contrasted it with Severe Phonological Disorder and discussed how these diagnosis sometimes overlap.
She showed several videos of her therapy sessions and I was most impressed at how attentive her patients were, especially her youngest ones… as young as two. They said calmly in their chairs, paying attention to her mouth movements, and attempting to imitate words at her request. They were also receptive to all of the direct physical contact used with the prompt technique. She was great at keeping them interested with unique toys and games and carried a few words through the entire session, but used in different contexts. For instance, if she was working on the word “balloon”, that word would pop up again further along in the session, but in relation perhaps to a different story or game and as “yellow balloon”, “balloon pop”, balloon up”, “my balloon”.
She also contrasted some younger patients with some older children that didn’t come into her practice until they were much older. One I believe was 8 or 9. It was heartbreaking to see this boy who had a language all his own that now one could understand. And it was obvious he desperately wanted to be understood and tried so hard. She made tremendous progress with him and it’s always gratifying to see the before and after videos. It also made me glad we started Henry so young and not everyone is so fortunate.
The only downside to the seminar is that in my opinion is that it was way too short. I would say there were about 30 people there, all parents and some came as couples. The common thread was that we were all desperate for information, had questions and wanted answers. There was a brief question/answer session, but it just couldn’t accommodate everyone. I would have also liked to have more time to socialize with the other parents, maybe with refreshments or something afterward. It just wasn’t set up for that and I felt like we were almost being rushed out. It was evening time, maybe the building was closing? I’m not sure, but I do know it is so valuable to me to be in the same room as an expert as well as being surrounded by other parents going through the same things as I am. I wish I could have taken better advantage of that.
Overall, it was very informative and Donna Lederman is wonderful and gracious. I wish I lived in Long Island so she could treat Henry! Thanks to CASANA for putting this on and making it an affordable option for parents. Ms. Lederman’s website is very informative and geared towards helping parents, even if you are not a client. I suggest checking it out: