11:55 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

CHAT Camp Helps Non-Verbal Kids Connect

The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University brought together five area children to take part in a week-long camp for kids who chat a bit differently. Everyone has a voice—some just use the touch of a screen. 

Graham Tresness celebrates the first-ever CHAT Camp.
Credit Maria Catanzarite, WAER News

Today was the final day of the first-ever CHAT camp, or also known as the camp of “communicative hope through assistive technology.” Speech and language pathologist Beth Tollar thinks kids with unique ways of speaking need to know they aren’t alone.

CHAT Camp Director Beth Tollar and CHAT Camp founder Barb Tresness.
Graham Tresness uses his assistive technology device with his eyes by "looking" at a category to construct sentences.
Credit Maria Catanzarite, WAER News

That’s Barb Tresness, who teamed up with Beth Tollar to make CHAT Camp a reality. Tresness says her son 13-year old son Graham benefited from a special mentor who helped the campers realize there are others who talk just like them.

CHAT Camp founder Barb Tresness and camp mentor Kate Battoe.

That's 29-year old Kate Battoe who works at Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute as a research assistant.

Kate Battoe uses her own voice in this clip.

CHAT Camp mentor Kate Battoe
Credit Maria Catanzarite, WAER News


says Mentoring at the camp helped her achieve a lifelong dream.