Brandon Towle, is the Founder & Director of Camp Words Unspoken. He received his Associates Degree in Business Administration from Holyoke Community College. Brandon is employed by the United States Postal Service. Brandon, partners with Camp Words Unspoken Speech Pathologist, Gina Biskupic, as the Western Massachusetts Chapter Leader for the National Stuttering Association.
As a lifelong stutterer Brandon can easily relate to the challenges those face with dysfluent speech. Brandon would not be as fluent as he is today without a solid support system and hours of practice utilizing the strategies he has learned over the years. Brandon continues to redirect and channel his speech to help become a more fluent speaker.
Brandon over the years has held various leadership roles for both recreation and dysfluency camps. He enjoys playing basketball and golf in his free time. He currently resides in Westfield, MA.
Words From the Director....
“I believe through hard work and the use of various speech strategies you can make improvements in your fluency. Confidence and being comfortable with yourself are key factors that my program strives to bring out in each person. My staff and I will work closely with the campers to help reach their personal goals and to increase their level of confidence. We will ensure that the campers keep busy in a fun-filled environment. My hope is that each camper leaves with a lifetime of memorable moments during their stay with Camp Words Unspoken!”
James McNaughton steps into the role of Executive Director at Camp Words Unspoken, excited to support Brandon in manifesting his vision of creating New England's first overnight camp for youths and teens that stutter. James is also the Founder and Director of Adventure In Adventure Out. Since 1995, AIAO has been facilitating it's mission of connecting individuals more closely to nature, community, and self. It's client base is vast and includes schools, camps, colleges,& non-profits. The business has three tiers;Team building,Leadership Development, and Outdoor Adventures. James is also on the Executive committee of Temenos Retreat Center, a small off the grid retreat center in Shutesbury, MA. He presently lives in Shutesbury, with his wife Gayle, and has been a Pioneer Valley resident all of his life.
David Haas, is the Executive Director of Sarah's Guest House, a healthcare hospitality home in Syracuse, New York that provides lodging, meals, transportation and comfort to patients and families of patients receiving medical care in the community.
A person who stutters, David has received nearly 15 years of speech therapy, beginning at the age of 5 and concluding in his mid-20s. David uses his voice to spread awareness and advocate for individuals with fluency disorders. His presentations often focus on his journey through speech therapy while highlighting the importance of self-acceptance. David speaks to local schools, universities, organizations and agencies. This includes keynote speaking at both Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego. David has even given a TEDx Talk on the topic.
Since 2012, David has been the leader of the Syracuse chapter of the National Stuttering Association. A notable figure in Syracuse, David is also a writer and staunch supporter of grassroots efforts to better the community in which he lives. For his efforts, he was been recognized by CNY Business Journal as one of the 40 people under 40 who have excelled in the workplace and in the community. The Post-Standard named him one of Syracuse's leading innovators. In 2018, the Syracuse Press Club awarded him first place in the category of "Best Use of Social Media." In 2019, the New York State Press Association awarded David first place in the Better Newspaper contest for his feature story, entitled, Highway Robbery. Most recently, David was the recipient of the Merit Award from the Preservation Association of Central New York for his efforts with The Stand Newspaper.
David also volunteers his time with several organizations including working with the Democratic Committee of Onondaga County and Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today. David is a board member for the Historic Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Association. He is looking forward to speaking at Camp Words Unspoken!
Sujini Ramachandar, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University. She received her Doctorate from University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on neurological differences (sensorimotor processing) associated with stuttering. She is currently completing her Board Certified Specialist- Fluency certification (BCS-F).
Before her transition to academia, she was a partner and chief financial officer of an itinerant speech language agency in Syracuse, NY. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and adults who stutter, providing parent and family education, and collaborating with other disciplines. In, addition to teaching and research, she continues to work with children and adults who stutter by helping them improve their quality of life.
She is a Clinical Co-Director of Camp Words Unspoken. Camp Unspoken is committed to providing a safe environment for children who stutter to develop friendships, build self-confidence, and hone communication and problem solving skills.
She is also the Director of Lotus Foundation, which focuses on providing quality rehabilitation services to underserved populations globally. Her hobbies include reading, cooking, movies, hiking, and biking.
Lourdes Ramos-Heinrichs, M.A, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, has been a certified speech and language pathologist for 28 years, and a fluency specialist for 16-years. She has worked in two large urban school districts, in California and Boston, since 1991, providing speech-language clinical services to school-age children.
Lourdes currently serves as CE Coordinator on the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders (ABFFD). She has mentored numerous SLP colleagues through the processes of fluency specialization and has been a fluency consultant within the Boston Public School District. Throughout her career she has been teaching classes and supervising clinics on Fluency and Fluency Disorders in various settings including Northeastern University.
Lourdes enjoys engaging in all sports such as swimming, tennis, kayaking, biking, and hiking. She is a second year certified Ikebana practitioner and plays the ukulele for fun. Lourdes is glad to serve as the clinical co-director at Camp Words Unspoken.
Alida Engel, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, has 50 years of professional experience in Connecticut private and public schools, and in her private practice in New Haven, Connecticut. Alida is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders (BCS-F), making her one of only 160 such practitioners in the US and Canada. To qualify, she has acquired a high level of clinical expertise in treating fluency disorders, possesses advanced knowledge, and has demonstrated a commitment to serving people with fluency disorders.
Alida currently works with children and adults. In addition to her stuttering specialization, she is a generalist, with broad experience in autism, voice, language, articulation, reading, accent reduction, and other communication concerns. Articles about and by her have appeared in the New York Times, the New Haven Register and more.
In her continuing effort to keep abreast of developments in stuttering research and treatment, Alida has participated in many programs and studied therapeutic approaches, including:
Alida loves improvisational dancing and is an owner of a yearly dance camp. She also loves baking, cooking, walking and cultivating bonsai trees– as well as being a speech and language pathologist!
Gina Biskupic, M.A., CCC-SLP, is the Director and Clinical Speech and Language Pathologist at Comprehensive Speech and Language Services (CSLS) in Westfield, MA. She provides evaluation and therapy services to children and young adults through her private practice. She is an independent evaluation contractor to local district special education departments. Gina partners with Camp Words Unspoken founder, Brandon Towle, as a Support Group Leader of the National Stuttering Association -Western Massachusetts chapter.
Gina worked as a Case Manager for people with traumatic brain injuries in a community re-entry program. In 1996, she earned her M.A. in Communication Disorders-Speech and Language Pathology from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She began her SLP career working with adults in rehabilitation and long-term care facilities before moving to a school setting. Gina has enjoyed working with children treating a variety of speech and language disorders in public schools from Pre-K to high school. She has particular interest in the areas of stuttering, phonological process disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, language processing, executive function and memory, pragmatic language, caregiver education and social-emotional development.
Gina enjoys clinical supervision of SLPAs, interdisciplinary special education collaboration and mentoring those individuals interested in careers in speech and language pathology. She is passionate about her work with children and young adults at every age and stage. Gina strives to provide the best therapy in fun, goal-oriented and motivating sessions. She is excited to be a part of Camp Words Unspoken.
Jennifer Mackey, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and Director of Clinical Education at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, where she works with graduate students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. She has been an SLP for almost 25 years and specializes in pediatric speech and language disorders, including fluency, speech sound disorders, autism, and language disorders. Jennifer is also interested in the scholarship of supervision and mentorship.
She teaches the Early Intervention course and coordinates the Early Intervention Concentration at the MGH Institute. She is a member of the Higher Ed DPH Task Force and is also on the Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium Conference Planning Committee. Jennifer enjoys reading, knitting, and going on outdoor hikes with her family.
Evan Sherman, M.S., CCC-SLP is a clinical Speech-Language Pathologist at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida and the founder of Progression Speech Therapy. He received his Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Syracuse University. He is a former chapter leader for the National Stuttering Association and he recently concluded his term as Vice Chairman on their board of directors. He resides in Orlando, Florida and has two young children who are his pride and joy.
Evan has devoted his life to helping people who stutter become confident communicators. He takes pride in being a person who stutters, and he enjoys teaching his clients how to stutter confidently, openly, and with authenticity. His clients quickly realize that stuttering does not need to prevent them from achieving their goals and aspirations in life. Evan is truly excited to bring his practice to Camp Words Unspoken.
"Its not about the stuttering, its about having the courage to participate in your own life."
Matt Didisheim brings an extensive background of leading teenagers to his role at CWU as Counselor-in-Training Director. He has led teens on backpacking trips in Alaska, along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and through the Swiss Alps. He has also worked for several years in wilderness therapy with struggling teens in the back country of Utah, modeling life skills, leading meaningful activities, and facilitating therapeutic interventions.
In addition, he has worked with teens who stutter at a summer camp alongside Brandon, guiding older campers in developing leadership skills. Matt's goals at CWU are to help individuals who stutter understand more about their speech patterns, learn from each other, and to push through the negative feelings associated with their stutter to find self-confidence and self-acceptance. Matt stutters himself, and went through seven years of speech therapy as a teenager. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and is looking forward to camp!