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Archive for Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Camp helps youngsters overcome communication challenges

Emma Day, 5, uses a toy camera to take photographs of fish in the sea lab during the Sertoma-Schiefelbusch Communications Camp on Wednesday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. At right is Erin Gunzelman, a KU graduate student in speech and language pathology.

Emma Day, 5, uses a toy camera to take photographs of fish in the sea lab during the Sertoma-Schiefelbusch Communications Camp on Wednesday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. At right is Erin Gunzelman, a KU graduate student in speech and language pathology.

July 8, 2009

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Camp helps kids' communication

A local camp is helping communication-challenged kids learn. Enlarge video

The groups of children making crafts, drawing and compiling a digital scrapbook appear to be just another summer camp.

But these activities have a purpose: to help the youngsters overcome a wide variety of communication challenges.

The Sertoma-Schiefelbusch Communications Camp is supported by the Lawrence Sertoma Club and staffed by faculty and students in the speech language pathology department at Kansas University. It is in its eighth year of helping children ages 4 to 12 conquer speech and hearing issues.

“We have children who have articulation problems,” said Jane Wegner, director of the Schiefelbusch Clinic at KU and a clinical professor. “We have some who have cerebral palsy and can’t communicate verbally and use communication devices. We have children who have autism who don’t speak but use visual supports.”

Kimberly Haake, who just finished her first year in the speech language pathology graduate program, has been working with Cooper. Cooper spends a lot of time running around and singing. Haake said he had made strides.

“He loves to play. Sometimes if we finish an activity early, he wants to play duck, duck, goose,” Haake said. While Cooper used to ask her for permission, now he’s approaching his fellow campers to get them in the game. “Instead of asking me, he’s interacting with his peers more, which is awesome.”

The camp also gives Haake a chance to put her knowledge to use in a real-world setting.

“It helps us figure out how we can use our teaching strategies and help them in a setting that’s more fun and natural for them,” she said.

The Lawrence Sertoma Club donates money to help support the camp and make it affordable.

“Lawrence is a very strong Sertoma community,” said Sertoma International President Julie Hejtmanek. “This (camp is) a little bit different in that it focuses on not just hearing health, but children with all kinds of communicative issues, as well as other children who don’t have those issues.”

Wegner wants the 90 students in the camp to take away a sense of pride.

“We also hope they go back to school and say, ‘This is what I did during the summer!’” she said.

The camp wraps up on Friday.

Comments

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Why does the very first comment about any great program or anything good on the Journal-World website always end up pulling the trolls from under the bridge? Why, why, why?

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

A wonderful program; keep up the good work, folks.

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wordgenie8 4 years, 9 months ago

Send the whole KU English Department faculty to this camp, why don't you? In my experience they face significant communication challenges. Certain members of the KU administration could also hugely benefit. Anyone who tells the emperor s/ he has no clothes on or mentions the elephant in the room is committing career suicide apparently. This state of affairs would not prevail were open, healthy communication the norm.

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