Summer camp helping kids with alternative communication

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Their verbal communication is limited, but their smile said it all. A summer camp for kids in Holyoke is taking innovative communication to a new level.

“They are building friendships. It’s a community where they are able to come and see other students who use AAC or augmented and alternative communication to augment their verbal speech and be able to say hey this is where I fit in and this is where everybody is the same and accepted,” said Hillary Jellison, the Co-Owner of Camp Communicare.

Sometimes they need the help of gesturing, pictures or high-tech devices, but Wednesday’s Walk, Talk and Roll celebrated Camp Communicare’s 10th summer season helping kids reach their potential. From swimming to horseback riding.

More than 40 kids celebrated their summer camp strides and successes by graduating.

It’s a time for kids to be kids, while boosting their confidence and building friendships.

“Can you tell me what your favorite part of camp is?” 22News asked augmented alternative communication camper Sebasian, “You like to play, what else did you like to do?”
“Swim,” he answered.

On this day, it was one step in front of the other, lacing up the sneakers and pounding the pavement for progress. All the proceeds from Wednesday’s event went to benefit Jericho, where Camp Communicare operates in Holyoke on Northampton Street.