A communication summer helps prepare for school!


Patrick’s Summer – 2010

Patrick had a busy summer.  Being a child that uses an Augmentative Communication Device called a DynaVox, Patrick was able to attend a new summer camp this year, Word Warriors.

Word Warriors was a 7 week camp, meeting every Tuesday morning at Thames Valley Children’s Centre for children using augmentative communication devices, to work on Core Vocabulary.

Core vocabulary is a relatively small number of words that constitute the vast majority of what is said in normal conversation.  With a few hundred words, a person can say over 80% of what is needed (Vanderheiden &Kelso, 1987).

Each week 2-3 core vocabulary words were used as ‘passwords’ to enter the room.  Stories and games were read and played that incorporated the words for the day, as well as words that were previously used.  The children were encouraged to participate as well, by asking and answering questions using their core vocabulary.

They had a great time!  Patrick really enjoyed and looked forward to going.

Patrick also had the opportunity to attend a Drama Camp again this year.  His first time was in 2008, this is his 2nd year.

This program is put on, again, for children using Augmentative Communication Devices, through Thames Valley Children’s Centre and The Original Kids Theatre Company.  There were 2 sessions, morning – for those attending for the first time, and afternoon – for those who have had experience already attending.

Patrick attended the afternoon sessions, going down to the theatre with one of his respite workers via para-transit, Monday to Thursday for a week.  Friday morning they put on the performances.

They did 3 plays.  Alice in Wonderland, The Right Nest and Wombat Stew.  Patrick played March Hare 2 in Alice in Wonderland, the Husband Bird in The Right Nest and the Emu in Wombat Stew.  Each child had their lines for the plays programmed into their communication devices prior to the camp.  Patrick reminded me everyday to go over his plays with him, so he could do his lines! All the plays were written and directed by one of the Original Kids.

Each child was paired with one of the Original kids for each play to help them along when necessary.  The first 3 days were spent rehearsing the plays.  Thursday was dress rehearsal day.  Friday morning both groups, morning and afternoon, put on their plays for family and friends at the Spriet Family Theatre, downtown in the Covent Garden market.

All the kids had a great time!  They received a certificate, a poster, a shirt, a program and a gerbera daisy.  Wonderful memories indeed!

These camps this summer have helped Patrick a lot with also preparing for school.  Using and getting more familiar with some core vocabulary will help a lot in communication, not only for school, but where ever he may be/go.

We have started working on our school time schedule for mornings and bedtimes to help get a head start on the routines he will be using for school.  He’s still tired, but there’s still a week to go.  He’s been counting down to school for 2 months!  We have a calendar I made up and we’ve kept track of all the camps, weekends with his Dad, appointments and when back to time is.  We mark each day off with an “X” as it passes and count how many till each event, including school.

He is excited and happy that school will be back soon!  He can’t wait to see his friends and the EA’s!

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