Speech Camp Aids Kids With Craniofacial Disorders
July 1, 2008
Nothing compares to the sweet sound of a child’s voice. But for children with craniofacial disorders, including a cleft palate or cleft lip, communicating with the ones they love can be difficult.
That’s why UT Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders is sponsoring Camp C.A.R.E. (Children with Articulation and Resonance Errors). Now in its eighth year, Camp C.A.R.E. is an intensive speech therapy camp for children ages 3 and older who have a history of craniofacial disorders.
There are more than a dozen craniofacial difficulties that affect both the soft tissue and bone of the face and neck. The disorders can be the result of a birth defect, disease or trauma.
Because of those structural abnormalities, children can have difficulty with the physiological movements required to make various speech sounds. As a result, they may be unable to produce certain sounds or amplify their speech to a level that is clear and understandable.
Camp C.A.R.E.’s mission is to give children the therapy they need in a setting that is fun. Graduate students from the University’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, along with UT Dallas undergraduate students and speech pathology supervisors from the Richardson Independent School District, work closely with the participants in individual and group settings to strengthen their speech movements and sounds. There is also plenty of time for games and arts and crafts.
Dianne Altuna, camp founder and director, has been working with those affected by craniofacial disorders for more than 25 years.
“I think each of us has a purpose, and mine was to bring together a group of very special children with a group of very special speech-pathologists,” Altuna said. “The transformations that take place each summer are truly remarkable.”
Camp C.A.R.E. runs June 10–July 17, every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the UT Dallas campus. About 27 clinicians and 29 children — from across the state of Texas and from as far away as Japan — are participating in this year’s camp.
The Callier Center, with locations in Dallas and on the UT Dallas campus in Richardson, is one of the nation’s preeminent educational, research and treatment centers focusing on communication and communication disorders. The center is part of the University’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.