Walk Towards Research

PennWest set to host Walk for Apraxia

Anna Hohowski, Staff Writer

The National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) at PennWest California will host their annual walk to raise awareness for Apraxia, in collaboration with Apraxia Kids on October 15.

Apraxia Kids is a nonprofit organization that focuses on raising funds and support for a disorder that lacks much research and awareness.

Apraxia is a motor speech disorder that causes individuals to be unable to speak correctly due to a disconnect between their brain and their muscles.

Senior Madilyn Bryner, Secretary and Social Chair of NSSLHA, attended the walk last year and plans to attend again this year.

“Most children diagnosed with CAS know what they want to say but struggle with moving the muscles that are needed to speak. These muscles do not get the proper messages sent from the brain to tell them when and how to produce a speech sound,” Bryner said.

Samantha Taylor, a Senior and Vice President of NSSLHA, also plans to join the walk.

“Not much is known about this disorder, so this event can help a lot in providing funding to further research and to train individuals to properly treat it,” Taylor said.

The walk will take place at 9:30am at the Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.  Registration for the event will occur at 8:30am.

Senior Alana Robinson, who is the President of NSSLHA, was involved in coordinating the event with Apraxia Kids.

“We did the walk last year and raised over $1000,” Robinson said. “This experience for our communication department was something that made an impact. We were also able to have a Zoom meeting with an Apraxia specialist that explained in more detail of what we helped with.”

Bryner said this is an event that spreads awareness of CAS, supports fundings for further research, and provides educational opportunities for everyone involved.  Bryner also said students should register for this event because it is a great way to support individuals who have been diagnosed with CAS and their families.

The Walk is also a way for students in the Communication Disorders and Speech-Language field to expand their community service résumé.

“This event is also a great way to connect with professionals in the Speech-Language Pathology field and other NSSLHA chapters who are also raising awareness of CAS,” Bryner said.

Robinson remarked that “students should register for the Walk for Apraxia because it gives you good community service experience and helps with outreach.  It also gives students studying Speech Pathology good experience.”

“For all of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Majors involved, this event has been a very eye-opening and educational experience,” Taylor said. “It is also a great way for us to network with professionals and see how what we learn in class impacts real people.”

Students can reach out to NSSLHA to register for the event, or visit the Apraxia for Kids website.