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Our Superheroes: KiwiChat Camp 2016

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Lest We Forget

I attended one of the most moving ANZAC ceremonies I have ever attended over ANZAC weekend. It was part of TalkLink’s very successful 3rd KiwiChat Camp. Reflecting on why the ceremony was so moving, I think it can be summed up in the word “participation”. Whether it was reciting a poem or prayer, playing the Last Post, placing a poppy on the memorial, or signing the National Anthem, there was a lot of participation from the families attending KiwiChat Camp.

“Participation” was the focus throughout the five days of Camp. The Superheroes theme proved to be very motivating and fun! The TalkLink therapists, ably supported by speech-language therapy (SLT) and occupational therapy (OT) students and volunteers, were innovative and imaginative, providing communication opportunities throughout the day. Modelling with very large core communication boards was a great success, as evidenced by an increase in communication exchanges.

We all had such fun whether it was during therapy sessions, planning skits for the “Show”, at meal times, or whilst participating in the many adventurous activities organised by our hosts at Totara Springs. Totara Springs is an amazing venue; some families commented that the camp had been the first opportunity they have had to participate in the outdoor activities offered at Totara Springs and nobody stared!

Dean Sutherland from the University of Canterbury meet with parents and facilitated a “parents’ perspectives and experiences” discussion, which included looking at the “Bright Spots” and recognising that parents are the real experts. The parents then heard the real-life journeys from our KiwiChat Camp ambassadors: Gabby, Geneva, Mackenzie and Nathan. Very inspiring!

We will be sharing more feedback once this has been analysed, but in the meantime a very big thank you to everyone involved: most importantly our “campers” and their amazing families but also the volunteers, students and TalkLink staff. We are all buzzing with the success and as the photos show there were many precious moments.


Thanks to our sponsors:

  • Ministry of Health
  • ACC
  • CP Society
  • Wilson Home Trust
  • Cymas Ltd
  • DTSL
  • Donors on the givealittle site

Thanks to the students from:

  • Massey University
  • Auckland University
  • AUT
  • Otago University


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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

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.talklink.org.nz/index.php/2016/05/03/our-superheroes-kiwichat-camp-2016/

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