OLLU to host summer program for youth with communication disorders

OLLU will host its third annual Be AACtive Communicators summer program at the Harry Jersig Center this week for children with Complex Communication Needs (CCN).

The intensive, eight-day program is free and will be held Tuesday through Thursday and June 20-24.

The goal for the camp is to help children learn how to communicate through hand-held devices that resemble an iPad, replete with icons.

“These devices have core vocabulary, which refers to the small number of words that make up 70 to 90 percent of what we say on a daily basis,” said program co-founder Jacqueline Trevino, adjunct clinical professor in the Woolfolk School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“These words are relevant across contexts and can have many meanings, as well as, pre-stored phrases. So it only takes one icon to activate a message, such as ‘awesome,’ or ‘how are you?’ Many of these devices have built in keyboards for spelling. They are Bluetooth- or infrared-enabled so they can be hooked up to turn on a TV, send a message to a printer or compose a letter. Most participants use their finger to activate the device. We have one that uses the eyes to activate the device.”

The summer program will help graduate students in the Woolfolk School of Communication Sciences and Disorders to acquire clinical skills to evaluate and treat individuals with CCN. The program also allows young adult clients with social communication needs the opportunity to participate as volunteers and practice vocational skills.