by Lorraine Cohen, M.S., CCC-SLP, Assistive Technology SpecialistAdult Day Services

Members of AHRC New York City’s Betty Pendler Day Services Program B’s Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) meetup group brought their unique technology and communication skills and their helping hands to Teachers College on Thursday, July 19, 2018, where they served as role models and peer mediators for children who use communication devices at the college’s AAC summer camp. Campers ranged in age from 4 to 19 years old. Parents of the campers attended, as did the moms of Awad Awadallah and Carolina Gaston-Rodriguez. Coincidentally, while the majority of AHRC NYC’s group are independent travelers, several of them live near Teacher’s College.

The event took place after day service hours and the AHRC NYC group, moms included, extended the event by enjoying the summer evening dining out in the vicinity of the campus. The group impressed the waiter with their camaraderie and unique tech and communication skills when ordering their meals and beverages.

Paying it Forward

Jamel Mills uses his AAC devic e to express his desire to help children to learn to use their voices

Jamel Mills uses his AAC device to express his desire to help children to learn to use their voices.

Besides his talent as a dancerJamel Mills is also an excellent, independent device user.  He particularly enjoyed the event and at dinner told the camp director and the group at large, “I want to work with children with devices.”

Rutha RosenCommunity Support Supervisor, attended the AAC camp and stated that she observed a genuine sensitivity towards the children by the AAC group.  “I have never seen them so proud and so happy using their devices, acting as role models,” she said. ” The games and activities organized by Teacher’s College were very appropriate, so everyone was able to join in. It was an honor to be there.

This is the second collaboration with Teacher’s College. The camp director reported that after the meeting many parents of the campers were interested in making this meetup happen more frequently and consistently. One parent indicated that her child felt a connection with her AHRC NYC peer-mediator. Having a voice enables us to express ourselves and make new friends!