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Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Kids Enjoy Weekend of Fun and Personal Growth at Special Camp

LOS ANGELES - May 12, 2004 - The House Ear Institute's 19th annual Family Camp was held at Camp Hess Kramer from May 21 - 23 in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Malibu. Family Camp is offered to families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children as a forum for sharing feelings, comparing family experiences and exchanging information. Parents attend panel discussions and workshops led by qualified professionals who address topics that help families cope with various hearing loss and education issues, while their children participate in fun learning activities involving arts and crafts, dance, safety and outdoor recreation.

Family Camp is designed to help strengthen the family unit through better communication, to develop and increase awareness of peer identity and support, and to give deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings the opportunity to share feelings and concerns with each other.

"Several other programs may address the needs of children with hearing loss, but the Institute's Family Camp is unique in that it addresses coping mechanisms and dynamics that influence the child's development," said Marilee Potthoff, director of marketing, HEI. "We're thrilled that more than 35 families are benefiting from our camp this year." HEI provides sign-language interpreters for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and Spanish interpreters for the Hispanic families attending. Camp activities include fun-filled days and evenings of sports and creative activities led by special guests
including:

The Wildlife Waystation will introduce young campers to some interesting wildlife and educate them about the animal kingdom.

Professional dancer Lisa Chahayed has developed a unique program allowing both hearing and deaf participants to experience Rhythm and Dance Expression.

No Limits Theatre will provide a special performance geared to the children and their families.

Malibu Fire Station #56 will present a fire safety workshop for the children.
Paramedics from the American Medical Response team will teach campers important first aid skills.

Sports Activities include softball, volleyball, basketball, Frisbee and hiking.

The media are invited to visit Family Camp to meet and photograph these special kids and see firsthand how families in Southern California are working together to raise children with hearing loss and create their own success stories. Family Camp is made possible with generous contributions from the Lied Foundation and the Los Angeles Associates. To contact us at Camp Hess Kramer, please call the camp office at: (310) 457-7861.

About the House Ear Institute (HEI)

The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists are exploring the causes of auditory disorders on the cellular and molecular level as well as refining the application of auditory implants and hearing aids. For more information please call (213) 483-4431 or visit the Website at www.hei.org.

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