Monday, 1 June 2009

I can.. have an awesome summer!

June is here already – where did the school year go? This is the final issue of the I Can Newsletter for this year. We hope that you have enjoyed them and  found them useful. Summer is a time for getting outside, spending time with friends, meeting new people and going to camp! These are all great opportunities for communication.

  Vocabulary suggestions for sharing information about the summer holidays:
My vacation was cool!
What did you do all Summer?
Check out my journal.
Can I tell you more?
I went to camp. It was so fun!
Please find my camp display.
My favourite thing was learning to kayak.
My cousin and I went to the beach. Want to see my photos?
Wanna know what I did all summer?
Look what I made!
It was the best summer ever!
Tell me what you did.

 Words for Camp!

Before heading off to camp, remember to pack your child’s personal communication board(s). Your child will be meeting new people, making new friends and will have many opportunities to practice their social communication skills. This is a perfect time to check that your child has access to a core vocabulary that can be used across all situations. See the February 2009 Newsletter: “I Can … Find the Words” for more information about developing and using a core vocabulary.

 As there will be some novel situations at camp, your child may also need some topic specific camp vocabulary. Give your child some practise using the new vocabulary to help him/her use it functionally. Help your camp counselor by providing a copy of your child’s communication board before camp starts, so that camp staff can get familiar with the board.

 Not going to camp this summer? Take advantage of opportunities for vocabulary development with help from your child’s friends. Peers can help by providing age appropriate suggestions for vocabulary to add to a board. This works best when your child is involved in selecting the words and choosing where they should go on the display. 

So many new and exciting events can happen over the summer. It is a great opportunity to help your child do some writing. This could include a journal or diary, writing a story, a letter to a relative or pen pal, writing poetry after being inspired by nature and the outdoors or messaging on the computer. Your child can do this via a variety of modes, e.g. on the computer, using their communication device or display that has been customized with appropriate vocabulary for the summer.

No-Tech Ideas

  • Create communication displays for times when it’s not possible to use a high tech device (e.g. on the beach or around the pool). Laminated symbols can be attached to Styrofoam trays or pool noodles for use by / in the water.  
  • Collect “remnants” that show what you have been doing during the summer months to add to your picture-based communication display. These could include movie stubs, menus from a hotel where you stayed, a flyer from an attraction. Add some conversation strategies to your pages to make your remnant book interactive “Guess what I did this summer”, “Do you want to know more?”.

Light Tech Ideas

  • Talk to your child’s camp counselor ahead of time to find out about camp activities. Make overlays that will allow your child to take an active part in them, e.g. picking a campfire song or being the leader for a scavenger hunt.  
High Tech Ideas
  • During the summer, you can make some communication pages on your device to tell about your vacation.  On many devices you can add photographs to the buttons or to make visual scenes.  Check device manufacturers’ websites or ask your ACS clinicians for assistance.
Lights, Camera, Action!

August 24 - 28, 2009
Join us at Setting the Stage or On With the Show, theatre camps for aspiring actors who use a speech-generating device. Act alongside the Original Kids and invite your family & friends to the final performance.
Location: Spriet Family Theatre at Covent Garden Market, London.
For more details on this and other Opportunities to Participate check the brochure at:

Don’t forget to provide us with your feedback on the Newsletters at:

Resources: Check out some new websites that you haven’t had time to explore during school….
HelpKidzLearn -free online switch-accessible games & activities
One Switch – switch-accessible games, activities, music, interactive art, ideas and a blog   

Did you know…

Easter Seals operates residential camps with specially trained staff, which offer safe but exciting, fully accessible programs. Easter Seals also offers the Recreational Choices Funding Program that allows families the opportunity to choose a summer recreational program that best suits their child.