Shannon R Benton, Founder of CLASP International and Speech-Language Pathologist, graduated from Baylor University with her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and with her masters for the University of Texas at Dallas in Communication Disorders. She worked at the University of Texas at Dallas/Callier Center as a speechpathologist for 8 years. She provided clinical services for children and adults in aural habilitation, feeding, fluency, language and speech. Shannon was a member of the cochlear implant team and provided auditory verbal therapy for children with severe hearing loss. She also conducted a summer camp for children and adolescents who stutter. Shannon has provided services for children with all types of disabilities including hearing impaired, autism and craniofacial disorders. Currently, Shannon is the founder and executive director of CLASP International, as well as, practices privately as a speechpathologist with children with a varity of disorders. As this vision has unfolded, Shannon has been overwhelmed by the privilege of being a part of something bigger than self. The process of envisioning a project this huge, building a team and executing the plan has been nothing short of the Lord. She feels grateful and blessed to play a small part.
Dana Narveson graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in International Relations with an emphasis in Africa. Cumulatively she has spent a year studying, working, and volunteering in the southern region of Africa. She spent six months working at a government run TB hospital outside Cape Town, South Africa volunteering in the children's ward, and six months as a nursery facilitator at an HIV/AIDs orphanage outside Durban, South Africa. Back in the US her heart always tugged toward Africa and the children she had seen and met there that were in such great need. She was a fundraiser for World Vision to get children sponsored in order to raise them out of poverty, as well as worked at East West Ministries recruiting missionaries to share the Gospel as well as help people in poverty all over the world. As a team member with CLASP International she hopes to grow the programs and organization in order to reach more children and adults with disabilities who currently do not receive rehabilitation services they need.
Suzanna volunteered for national charity, Association For All Speech Impaired Children, in the UK from the age of 14 and developed a passion for working with children with a wide range of difficulties, in particular, Autism. Following further work at a residential school for children with sensory and physical impairments she went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Manchester, UK, in 2008. During summer breaks from studying Suzanna volunteered for a UK NGO working in primary schools in South Africa and developed a passion for work in resource limited settings and a love for traveling in Africa. On graduation she took up a mixed inpatient and community role working with adults with language difficulties following neurological damage, dysfluency, voice disorders, and developing skills in managing swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). in 2010 she moved to a major teaching hospital in London and developed expertise in neurology, neurosurgery and trauma, focusing on the management of dysphagia and tracheostomies in the intensive care setting. Her desire to gain more experience in the field of international development and global health led her to Zambia under Voluntary Services Overseas where she worked for 18 months as a clinical services coordinator for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, helping in the implementation of an integrated early childhood development program at government clinics. During her time in Zambia she was acutely aware of the human resources for health crisis and the immense need for children and adults to be able to access therapeutic interventions currently not available. After researching programs in this area she came across the CLASP and saw the great work being done and is now incredibly excited to be a part of the team, creating a sustainable solution to this problem.
Dr. Cindy Gill, a professor at Texas Woman’s University, has worked with CLASP International and professors throughout the US for the last five years, to bring to fruition the master’s degree in speech pathology in Zambia. In 2015, 18 students will graduate and become Zambia’s
first core of Speech-Language Pathologists. Dr. Gill is working with CLASP to make these efforts sustainable by helping some of the new graduates work toward a PhD so that they can create SLP departments in Zambian universities.