FSU hosts "Listen Camp" for children with hearing loss and hearig aids

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 3:15 PM EDT
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By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News

July 25, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Walking though the front doors of Listen Camp, you can hear the kids laughing and singing. The atmosphere is that of any other summer camp, but these campers all have something in common; they suffer from hearing loss or have hearing aids.

Florida State University's Hearing and Speech Clinic partnered with the graduate program at Florida State's School of Communication Sciences and Disorders to host this camp for the first time this year.

This year the camp had eight campers ranging from Kindergarten to third grade, each with their own graduate student to help them throughout the day.

They are provided with the full summer camp experience, filled with dance breaks, story time and arts and crafts.

Linda Sasser, a speech pathologist who specializes in listening and spoken language for auditory and verbal therapy, founded Listen Camp.

"Kids with hearing loss are just like every other kid. And they enjoy fun things too," she said.

Although there are fun activities scheduled throughout the day, the focus is on listening and comprehending.

Erica Kochis, one a graduate students, says that although at times it may be difficult to understand what a child wants, they always have their voice be heard, "They do have something they want to tell us and they make sure that we do know it and they don't give up to get their message across and it is just so awesome."

For parents like Jeremy Floyd, he and his son are both deaf. Floyd shares that things people normally take for granted, like reading, speaking, and writing, do not come as easily to those who have zero hearing ability, or need hearing aids.

"You are getting 100% from me but you coming to me, you know I am probably getting 60-75% and I am just filling in the rest," Floyd explained.

That's why camps like these, mother Cambea Chan says, makes all the difference.

"This is a different world that kids grow up in and they just want to belong wherever they go," Chan said. "This is the first opportunity that she has had to be around kids with hearing aids."

Kochis shares, "Some of them were talking about this morning that they call their ears their robot ears or their bionic ears. Making sure that, yeah, I do have a hearing loss, but I am not any different from you I am still a kid."

By being surrounded by others with the same disability, the campers, Floyd says, see they are not alone, "This gives him a chance to see where he is at, how well he has done for himself and to help other kids that are just like him."

And when Luke Floyd was asked what he loved most about the camp, he shares, "That we have fun!"

Tomorrow is the camp's last day, however Sasser hopes to bring the camp back next year for more weeks and longer days.