Kathy Hennessy is the Director of Education at the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Communications from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. Prior to Ms. Hennessy’s current role at CASANA, she spent several years working in various professional theaters located throughout the Pittsburgh area, including the Pittsburgh Laboratory Theater as the Managing Director. With full support from the Mt. Lebanon School District, she also organized and developed curriculum for the Building a Character in Time, Connections and Breakthrough theater programs that established relationships with many organizations, including Carnegie-Mellon University, The Western Pennsylvania School For the Deaf, The National Theater for the Deaf, and The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Ms. Hennessy also served as the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) President of Lincoln Elementary in Mt. Lebanon from 2001 to 2003, during which time the school was awarded two Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Awards and was the first school in Pennsylvania to be awarded the National PTA Parent Involvement School of Excellence Award. During her two-year role as president, she was instrumental in the creation of the Lincoln Education Committee, a committee that established a set of guidelines and recommendations presented to and accepted by the School Board to ensure the acceptance of students with disabilities, specifically with emotional and behavioral issues.
Ms. Hennessy is the single mother of two young adults diagnosed with severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) as toddlers. As a founding member of and currently the Director of Education for CASANA, she has devoted much of her time to the special issues surrounding children with CAS and has counseled thousands of families dealing with this overwhelming diagnosis.
Kate Hennessy is a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana where she double majored in Creative Writing and Film and double minored in Theater and Business. Kate spent her sophomore year living in Ireland and studying at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth. She travels back to Ireland as often as possible to visit the friends that she made while living there.
At the age of seventeen, when the feature film Homecoming was filming on the campus of her high school, Kate was hired as a production assistant. Since that time she has had opportunity to work on a number of feature films including, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Warrior, I Am Number Four, Abduction, The Next Three Days, One for the Money, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Dark Knight Rises, The Lifeguard, Jack Ryan, and most recently, Foxcatcher. She has worked her way up from directing traffic to running base camp and working directly with the producers and actors. You can find more information about Kate’s work on feature films on her IMDB page at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3094033/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Kate was diagnosed with severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech at age five. After seven years of intense speech therapy, Kate is considered to be resolved of CAS. In 2003, at the age of thirteen, Kate spoke for the first time at a CASANA conference about what it was like to grow up with CAS. Since then Kate has become a nationally recognized speaker and advocate for children growing up with the speech disorder. In 2007, after submitting an essay about overcoming the odds, Kate won first place in The August Wilson Essay Contest.