Walk proceeds to help children find their voice

Photo by Amy Cherry - Maria Surra, 7, of St. Marys, has made significant progress since her diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech at age 3. She is shown hugging the family dog Mookie.
By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

The ability to communicate is one of the most human skills allowing us to form our identities, however children diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) struggle to find their voice.
On Sept. 23, the North Central Pennsylvania Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech is taking place at Benzinger Park in St. Marys. Proceeds from the 5K run/walk benefit programs and research at Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), based in Pittsburgh.
The walk is held across the nation and provides an opportunity for local families to come together to educate the community and to raise awareness.
"In Pennsylvania there were only four walks offered in Allentown, Hershey, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, all being at least a three-hour trip from Elk County. The North Central walk will be the fifth offered in the state," said Kelli Surra, event co-coordinator.
Surra's inspiration to organize a local walk stemmed from her youngest daughter Maria being diagnosed with moderate to severe apraxia of speech in November 2013 at age 3.
CAS is one of the most severe of childhood speech disorders.
Those with CAS experience problems saying sounds, syllables, and words as their brains struggle to develop the plans for speech movement of the lips, tongue, jaw, etc.
These children typically have a good understanding of language, but have difficulty carrying out the complex movements associated with speech.
Registration for the walk starts at 9 a.m. with the event starting at 10 a.m. The fee to participate is $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children,
Those interested in participating may register online at casana.apraxia-kids.org/NorthCentralPAWalk. Same day registration is an option with a slight increase in fees of $25 for adults, $17 for students and $12 for children.

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