ACPA Family Services



Connections Conference For the Win!

You’ve probably seen months of hype for our 2014 Connections Conference… and it was all for a reason!  What a fantastic day we had in Indianapolis!   The event brought a great turnout and between our fantastic keynote speakers, informative breakout sessions, and adorable therapy dog visitors, everyone left the day with big smiles.


Connections was held at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott and kick-started with an inspirational and entertaining keynote address by David Roche.  We were happy to have David and his wife, Marlena Blavin, join us for their third Connections Conference this year.  They are lovely people with a special heart for those affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions.  David and Marlena facilitated a workshop on the power of personal storytelling, which was a moving experience for many of our participants.  David and Marlena’s keynote comments also provided the perfect bookends to the day’s event.


Other workshops covered a variety of topics, including:

  • Speech/language therapy for early childhood and elementary years (Theresa Snelling, MA, CCC-SLP)
  • Navigating the world of insurance and craniofacial care (Marilyn Cohen, LSLP)
  • The genetics of cleft and craniofacial issues (Howard Saal, MD)
  • What to do when people stare (Charlene Pell)
  • How to improve outcomes for children with craniofacial differences (Claudia Bellucci, MS)

Special thanks to the highly-qualified volunteers who led these workshops!  They were instructive and beneficial to all those who attended.


Another highlight of the day was the Team Q&A Panel, where key specialty areas of a typical treatment team were represented and families had the opportunity ask questions and discuss their individual needs and concerns.  This year’s panelists included Claudia Bellucci, MS; Angela Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP; Ron Hathaway, DDS, MS, MS; Trish Severns, MA; and Isaac Wornom, MD.  A sincere round of applause to this “team” of professionals for sharing their expertise with Connections families!



We also enjoyed a panel of individuals and families from a variety of backgrounds who shared their own personal journeys with cleft and craniofacial care.  We could go on all day about all the wonderful contributions of our program participants!



Besides all the connections, support, and education that took place throughout the day, there was a whole lot of fun going on too!  Our children’s activity room was a busy and happy place, with everything from crafts and origami to movies and books.  Highlights of their play day included a kids’ yoga session and a visit from about 15 dogs of all sizes, who were completely content with the shower of love and excitement that came from our group (kids and adults alike!).



All in all, Connections was a huge success.  Please visit our 2014 Photo Gallery for a peek at the good times we had.   If you attended Connections 2014, please leave us a comment here so others hear about your personal highlights from the day!   For those we missed this go-around, we hope you’ll spread the word about Connections and join us in the future!

Drum Roll Please…

With big smiles and cheers, we’re thrilled to announce our

2014 Connections Conference 

for individuals and families affected by cleft lip/palate or other craniofacial conditions!!  Connections will be held March 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana and you can learn all about it here.  We hope you’ll consider joining us!


The Cleft Palate Foundation hosts a Connections Conference every two years in different cities around the country.  This year, we’re looking forward to adventures in the MidWest with many Families of Champions (our conference theme).

Connections offers a unique mix of education, friendship, and fun and is designed for the whole family.  Some highlights of the conference include keynote addresses by David Roche and Marlena Blavin, breakout workshops covering common topics of interest, a Q&A session with treatment team specialists, and a panel of families sharing insights from their own journeys in cleft/craniofacial care.  For the kiddos, we’ll have some four-footed, furry friends stopping by, kids’ yoga and movement fun, professional storytelling, and more!  Still on the fence about coming?  Let’s throw a pizza party, wine & cheese reception (cookies & milk offered too), and Connections t-shirts into the mix!  Okay, you’ve gotta see by now why we’re a little excited for this event…  It’s only $30 for the first adult, $20 for additional adults and teens, and $10 per child to attend and you can register online.


If you still have questions after looking through our website, please feel free to give me a call (800-24-CLEFT) or leave me a comment on this post.  Please register soon so we can plan all of the best for you!  If Indy’s a little too far this go-around, please stay tuned for future conferences in your area.  (Wouldn’t hurt to drop us a note about how great your city is too… future locations are under review!)  We love interacting with you all on social media, email, and the Cleftline, but we’d be so happy to meet you in person too.  Hope to see you at Connections 2014!


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