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KiwiChat Camp


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The KiwiChat Camp held in May 2011 at Totora Springs near Matamata was a great success. Families, speech-language therapy (SLT) students and TalkLink staff have all commented on the many positive outcomes that intensive, focused input can produce. Here are some of the comments:

From Parents: 

…After this week I feel excited, I can’t wait to get started and I feel like there is real hope for us.  I will refocus away from needs and wants to fun and authentic small talk and I really think we will get going now.  It is like a light went on this week. I have a million questions and so much to learn but I am so happy about this and to be out of my rut.

Communication in their world carried to the real world. Specialists in one place at one time to help, that never happens. Meeting parents and kids in the same boat.

…It was really good to chat to the parents in the same situation as yourself (and) learn a lot from others. (There are) always more ways to improve communication. It was good to find out other ways the device can be used.

From SLT students:

….Parents of children with complex needs are incredible! Never underestimate the energy the kids use to perform everyday tasks. AAC devices can be modified to cater to an astounding variety of needs. The best results are achieved when a team of experts share their knowledge. Kids communicate in so many ways; their device is only one of them.

….Firsthand experience with children with cerebral palsy, autism and Angelman’s. Seeing the parent’s absolute dedication to their kids. Seeing how to effectively communicate with AAC.

From the siblings:

….we got to do stuff with our siblings and learn stuff with them. Meeting other kids with siblings with disabilities.

…..I learnt a lot about Cerebral Palsy and how kids cope with it.

It would be great to continue to support one another. One way would be through this Blog. We will also be looking at further developing support ideas;  any suggestions are welcome.

A big thank you to our sponsors:

Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand
Wilson Home Trust
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board
Quadprint Colorpress Limited
Massey University Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy Programme


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Ann Smaill

Ann Smaill

General Manager, Speech Language Therapist at The Talklink Trust
I am the General Manager of the TalkLink Trust, and also a speech-language therapist. I have been working with people who have complex communication needs for many years.
Ann Smaill

Latest posts by Ann Smaill (see all)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.talklink.org.nz/index.php/2011/05/30/kiwichat-camp/


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  1. Justin Tate
    Justin Tate

    Thank you all for making this a reality, Eli and I had a ball!! good to put a face to the names out there 🙂

  2. Andrea Reid

    Wow! What an amazing week we have had. So much to learn and to put in place for Ben-remembering one step at a time tho. Fantastic to be with others and network. SLT students you were fabulous and kept up your vitality and enthusiasm for the week-well done. Thank you for your energy and organisation Talklink it certainly was magic!! Mya, Ben and I will be back again! Cheers Andrea

  3. Samantha

    Thanks again for a wonderful experience! As always the camp was incredibly beneficial for my entire family. Here’s hoping we see u all again at future camps.

  4. Megan

    Wow, what a great week! We learnt so much and have so much more to learn! Hope to see everyone again next year.

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