CHAT Program of Burton Blatt Institute Launches Camp for Children

August 8, 2013

CHAT Camp is a unique five-day experience for children locally who use assistive/augmentative communication (AAC) devices to communicate. This event will bring together agencies, speakers and professionals from the world of special needs to focus on communication in a whole new way.

Barb and Greg Tresness of Central New York founded CHAT (Communication Hope through Assistive Technology) in March of 2013. Their son Graham was born with cerebral palsy and uses eye gaze technology to communicate. He is the inspiration behind this program. The Tresnesses worked for more than a decade to find a way for their son to communicate, and they tirelessly advocate for him and other children with disabilities.

The pilot is running Aug. 5-9, and will include Syracuse University Sports Day, where campers will interview current SU Football players; Music Day, complete with instruments and an interactive jam session; and a trip to YNN Studios, where campers will create their own newscast complete with a news segment, weather report, sports report and interviews.

The week will culminate with the CHAT Camp Celebration, where campers, family, friends and the public are invited to view the world premiere of the groundbreaking film “redefining one word: communication.” Lunch will be included, as well as keynote speakers and a vendor fair.

“This experience has been truly enriching. The creativity these kids show is remarkable. It's clear to me that CHAT can help so many children across the globe realize their wide-ranging potential,” says Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for ESPN Regional TV, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and the Syracuse Chiefs. Benetti will capture CHAT Camp experiences from all participants via interviews and be the host of ceremonies at the CHAT Camp Celebration on Friday.

View the event streaming live at Drumlins Country Club Friday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at http://bbi.syr.edu/news_events/CHAT_webcast.html.

More information about CHAT can be found at chatbbi.org.