CHAT Camp Helps Non-Verbal Kids Connect

Aug 9, 2013

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.
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.

Graham Tresness uses his assistive technology device with his eyes by "looking" at a category to construct sentences.
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.

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

CHAT Camp mentor Kate Battoe
CHAT Camp mentor Kate Battoe
Credit Maria Catanzarite, WAER News

Battoe

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