The House Research Institute’s 27th Annual Family Camp continues to be a popular program for many families who have children with a hearing loss. The camp is filled to capacity setting an attendance record with families and counselors for the fourth straight year.
"Our record attendance really shows a growing demand for this type of family program. Our camp has a unique ability to bring families of all economic and cultural backgrounds and philosophies together in a reassuring atmosphere that often results in lifelong friendships and improved communications, both inside and outside the family unit," said Marilee Potthoff, director of community education and outreach at House Research Institute.
Shortly after the first pediatric cochlear implants became available in the early 1980s, Dr. Howard House recognized the need for families with children who had hearing loss to get together to learn and share ideas in a relaxed, safe environment. Many families come back year after year because camp offers a comfortable forum in a supportive atmosphere that helps build self-esteem, friendships, and respect for each other’s differences and decisions.
New this year is a parent discussion on the impact of pediatric hearing loss on the other members of the family including siblings. The session encourages parents to share their experiences with each other and is led by a licensed marriage and family therapist.
“Raisin’ Better Readers” will be presented by Debbie Schrader, educational liaison at the House Research Institute. The presentation will explain trends in literacy, how to identify milestones in early reading achievement as well as how to gain strategies for supporting the early reader at home.
A House Research Institute CARE Center audiologist and Cochlear Corporation will present “What Can Technology Do” which will cover everything from hearing aids, to bone conduction aids and cochlear implants. Parents will have a better understanding of what are reasonable expectations for what the technology alone can provide and when other factors influence the way technology works. In addition, the discussion will include the candidacy criteria for each device and the value of good rehab exercises.
Ray Goldsworthy, Ph.D., is a House Research Institute scientist and has a cochlear implant. He will be sharing his personal story with hearing loss and how he went on to receive a Ph.D.’s from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Parents also get to enjoy some social time with each other outdoors with parent-only tennis lessons by professional instructors, a relaxing beach walk, and even a yoga class on Sunday morning.
Folk musician Don McCloskey will perform for the families on Saturday evening. He will be joined by a choreographer who will lead the families in a parent-child dance contest. There also will be a Taiko drumming introduction and tutorial for campers of all ages.
In addition, the children will experience a wide variety of group-oriented sports, educational and creative expression activities throughout the weekend. Back by popular demand is a children’s communications program to help them improve communications skills, build self-esteem and encourage support of others. A professional choreographer will direct a series of dance workshops for children of all ages, culminating with a dance recital for parents, counselors and camp staff.
This year’s camp was funded by Delta Zeta Foundation, The Wood Claeyssens Foundation, ECHO Employee Charity Organization of Northrup Grumman and the Knu Foundation, Inc., and Califone International.