Motor Mouth Camp 2014, by Suzi Brooke
From the 1st to the 5th of October, sixteen children using communication devices gathered at Point Walter Reserve for the fourth annual Variety Motor Mouth Camp. They were joined by 40 volunteers including speech pathologists, occupational therapists, educators and students who provided intensive support to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users and their families. ILC staff were pleased to be involved in this exciting event again this year.
The camp’s main focus is on communication for everyone, everywhere … along with a whole lot of fun! AAC users participated in morning therapy activities that encouraged use of communication devices, low tech communication supports, verbal communication and key word signs. Parents attended information sessions on a range of topics including integrating AAC into home life and choosing and organising vocabulary for AAC. Siblings got a chance to learn about and use AAC as well as participate in a range of fun activities like archery and climbing. The afternoons and evenings were filled with entertainment for everyone and many opportunities for practicing new communication/ communication partner skills.
The camp committee had a fun time getting creative with this year’s camp theme ‘Reality Bites’. Some of the highlights included: “The Amazing Camp Race” where families had to use communication to obtain clues in a race to the finish; “Masterchef” cooking lessons with Theo from Little Caesars Pizzeria where AAC users made their own designer pizzas including a capsicum, cheese and strawberry delight!; the “So You Think You Can Dance Disco” and the “Motor Mouth’s Got Talent” concert where campers got the opportunity to use AAC to show off their communication skills (and many other entertaining talents). The MMC Facebook group really took off this year with families and volunteers sharing highlights from camp.
This year the camp committee decided to create core vocabulary lanyards, in the three different symbol sets used by our AAC users. Everyone at camp had a lanyard to wear around their neck- including volunteers, parents and siblings. This meant that everyone had their own communication aid and this really encouraged lots of modelling throughout the day. The staff at ILC are thinking about wearing these same lanyards in our appointments with clients who are learning to use AAC, to ensure we always have our “words” close by! Thanks to Nat from our committee for designing these lanyards and giving us lots of core vocabulary at camp!
A big thank you goes to everyone who makes this life changing camp a reality. To Variety WA and iiNet for their generous support and funding; the amazing Motor Mouth Camp Committee who spend the whole year thinking of ways to make each camp even better than the last; the volunteers who donate their time, energy, passion and experience; the parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and carers who show true dedication to supporting their AAC users on this journey, and of course to the AAC users who work tirelessly everyday to make their voices heard- they are a true inspiration to us all! Thank you for another incredible camp!