Non-verbal Cockburn girls enjoy Variety motor mouth camp

Coogee's Jana Edmondson at the Motor Mouth camp with her parents Paul and Verena.
Coogee's Jana Edmondson at the Motor Mouth camp with her parents Paul and Verena.

COMBINING four days of fun with therapy and training for non-verbal children and their families was the goal behind the recent 2018 Variety Motor Mouth Camp at Point Walter.

Nine-year-old Mikaela Renton from Bibra Lake and Coogee’s Jana Edmondson (10) were among the many primary school aged children who enjoyed the holiday camp, which was designed to help those who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) speech generating devices.

Mikaela Renton and her family.

Jana’s mum Verena Edmondson said her daughter had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, but despite being non-verbal was a “very bright, healthy and happy child”.

“Jana received her Accent 1200 with Minspeak just before we went to Variety Motor Mouth Camp in 2015 and it was during the camp that our daughter said for the first time ‘love daddy’,” she said.

“During the first day (at this year’s camp) Jana didn’t stop talking, she was so motivated to tell everybody about herself, and also asking and answering questions, that her head ended up bruised from all the talking.

“We have never seen her communicating so well but for Jana it must have been very exciting and motivating to talk to other AAC users.”

Variety WA chief executive Tony Hume said the camp was a great way for children using AAC to make friends with others going through the same experience.

“The primary aim of the camp is for kids using AAC to improve their system use and become more competent communicators in a fun and relaxing environment,” he said.