ACPA Family Services

2014 Agenda

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Connections Conference

 For the Win!!

Many thanks to the individuals, families, and care providers who helped make this year’s Connections Conference a huge success!  We loved meeting you all and hope to stay connected in the future.


Connections 2014 Schedule of Events


Friday, March 21, 2014

5-7pm Meet & Greet

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Children’s activities will be held all day, including kids’ yoga and a visit from some four-legged, furry friends!  Children ages 2-11 are invited to participate in these fun events any time after 8:00am on Saturday.  Infants are welcome to stay with their parents during conference sessions.  Teens ages 12 and up are encouraged to join us for the conference sessions listed below.

8:30 am- Keynote Address

David Roche

David Roche is an inspirational humorist and speaker who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial disfigurement into a compelling message that has uplifted and delighted audiences from New Zealand to Moscow and all across the USA, including at the White House and Kennedy Center. His first book, The Church of 80% Sincerity, has the same title as his signature one man show. David was the Keynote Speaker at Connections 2008 and 2012 in Philadelphia. He is such a perfect fit for our group, we are pleased to welcome him back as keynoter for Connections 2014. For more about David, visit

9:30am- Blessings in Disguise


Blessings in Disguise involves a panel of incredible individuals and families affected by various craniofacial conditions.  This group will share stories and insights about the challenges and successes of their cleft-craniofacial care experiences. Families attending will have opportunity to discuss and ask questions.

11:15am- Roundtable Workshops


Small group breakout sessions, including:

• Early Speech/Language Therapy for the Infant and Toddler, by Theresa Snelling, MA, CCC-SLP

This roundtable will allow families to ask questions and gain information on what Early Intervention Speech therapy services should include for the infant/toddler/young child with a cleft. Speech therapy techniques to use at home will also be covered.

• What To Do When People Stareby Charlene Pell

• Navigating the World of Insurance and Craniofacial Care, by Marilyn Cohen, LSLP

The Power of Personal Storytelling, by David Roche and Marlena Blavin

A safe and encouraging space to find your voice, to tell (and listen to) stories. Learn storytelling skills, build community, have heartfelt fun.

12:30pm- Family Pizza Party


All Connections participants are invited to join us for pizza and enjoy a casual chance to connect with conference presenters and other families.

1:45pm- Team Q&A


This panel of cleft-craniofacial specialists represent a variety of teams.  They will be available for questions from conference participants about various aspects of the team care experience.  Panelists include:
Claudia Bellucci, MS
Angela Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP
Ron Hathaway, DDS, MS, MS
Patricia Severns, MA
Isaac Wornom, MD

3:15pm- Roundtable Workshops


Small group breakout sessions, including:

• The Genetics of Cleft and Craniofacial Issues, by Howard Saal, MD

• How to Improve Outcomes for Children with Craniofacial Differences, by Claudia Bellucci, MS

This session will include a brief presentation about the importance of research with children having cleft lip and/or palate and other craniofacial differences.  The presenter will share her research experiences and results.  Participants will then have time for questions and to discuss suggestions for future research studies.

• Speech and Language Therapy – Preschool to Elementary years, by Theresa Snelling, MA, CCC-SLP

This roundtable will address speech therapy options for preschool to school-age children with cleft palate.  Discussion topics will include: how cleft team care in the medical setting and school-based speech therapy settings need to work toward the same goals;  surgical speech considerations; and, speech therapy approaches appropriate to the child with a cleft palate.

• The Power of Personal Storytelling, by David Roche and Marlena Blavin

A safe and encouraging space to find your voice, to tell (and listen to) stories. Learn storytelling skills, build community, have heartfelt fun.

4:30pm- Closing Remarks

Marlena Blavin is a professional speaker and performance storyteller and a founder of The Circle Of Women storytelling group. She is also the co-founder with David Roche of Love At Second Sight, the program on appearance and acceptance, diversity and disability that they have performed across Canada and the US in scores of schools.Marlena has taught storytelling with David for ten years to participants of all abilities and backgrounds.For forty years she has maintained a thriving practice in the healing arts. She is a certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Massage Therapist, Cranial Sacral Therapist and nutrition counselor.

5:00pm- Reception


Wine & cheese, cookies & milk, and a great time to visit with new friends from the conference!




Lobby Reinvented

All events will be held at the
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott
350 West Maryland St   Indianapolis, Indiana 46225