Talking With Technology Camp is a weeklong program for young people ages 6 to 21 who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. Children's Hospital Colorado and Easterseals Colorado hold this camp each summer at Rocky Mountain Village in Empire, Colorado.
A unique program for campers, siblings and professionals
What makes this camp unique is that our campers use AAC systems and typically attend camp with a professional trainer who knows the child. We also welcome brothers and sisters to take part in the program. This creates a great learning experience for everyone.
Because we want campers to have the opportunity to be independent, parents do not attend camp with their children. Our trained camp staff or a personal care attendant (PCA) will help a camper with their personal care needs.
We provide individual and group teaching to our campers. They learn new vocabulary, new methods for using that vocabulary and new ideas about what they can say. Our campers create and grow lasting friendships with their cabin mates and camp counselors.
Camp activities include:
Rock wall climbing
Singing around the campfire
Arts and crafts
Brothers and sisters of children who use AAC systems are invited to the camp to learn how to better understand and relate to their siblings.
They are also able to take part in all the traditional camp activities. Many of the activities are designed just for their group, giving them a chance to meet other young people who have a brother or sister who uses an AAC. Some activities are made to help siblings learn more about the use and operation of the systems. In this way, they become better communication partners for their brothers or sisters.
Siblings are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis once we receive the completed application packet. Siblings who attend camp are typically 6 to 14 years old. Siblings who are 15 to 21 years old may want to consider going to camp as a volunteer through Easterseals.
Professionals, such as speech language pathologists or teachers, go to the camp to learn how communication impacts the whole-life environment of the children they support. We refer to these professionals as trainers. Trainers learn ways to help keep up the child’s growth and progress beyond the camp experience. These trainers get intensive learning opportunities, such as getting a closer look at the communication systems and starting to carry out ideas for better daily communication.
An overnight camp experience also allows trainers to see how your child communicates on a 24-hour basis. As a result, they have a better opportunity to understand the complex communication needs of your child. Normally, they only get to see your child communicate during short periods of time.
Training for professionals starts as soon as they get to camp. Experts in the field will provide them with hands-on experience and guidance. Graduate-level college credit is also available. Due to the intense schedule, trainers need to attend camp for the whole week, from Saturday through Friday.
Although the trained and experienced Easterseals Colorado Camp counselors handle the personal care needs of the children, some children have medical needs that require their own PCA. The main role of the PCA is to work with the camper's counselor to provide any unique personal care needs. Rocky Mountain Village will decide if a PCA is needed. Often, PCAs are needed for children who have a night nurse.
Children’s Hospital Colorado ATTN: AAC Camps (Talking With Technology) 860 N Potomac Circle, Box 385 Aurora, CO 80011 Email: AACcamps@childrenscolorado.org Fax: ATTN: AAC Camps 720-478-7095
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