Summer camp offers safe environment for children with apraxia
A Calgary mother, who became aware of the limited opportunities traditional summer camps offered children facing communication challenges, created a camp where speech disorders were both accepted and addressed.
Tasha Kostenuk started Camp CHAOS (ChildHood Apraxia Of Speech) in 2016, a camp that allows children to interact with other campers in the same boat, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The fact that the can find that common thread between each other and feel comfortable with each other and talk to each other that much, right from day one, it’s the whole reason we’re doing this camp,” explained Kostenuk.
Apraxia is a motor speech disorder that disrupts the brain’s ability to move the muscles of the mouth required to produce clear speech. Shannon Kusniruk, a speech and language pathologist, says play is the best way for children to learn and she’s impressed by the immediate bonds between the campers and the respect they exhibit for one another.
“I do find that because they all have the same challenges that they are a bit more patient with each other,” said Kusniruk. “They know how it feels to not be understood so they try to be patient and help each other.”
“It’s really cool to see them working together like that.”
The camp for children with apraxia has grown from an initial 15 registered campers in 2016. According to Kostenuk, 33 campers are enrolled for the next three weeks including her six-year-old son Fox and Fox’s best friend Alex Moll. The two boys met during the inaugural Camp CHAOS and have become inseparable.
At the completion of each week of camp, parents are invited to a barbeque where therapies and treatment funding is discussed.
For additional information regarding Camp CHAOS and apraxia, visit Calgary Apraxia Parent Exchange
With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming