“I was especially pleased to see that some of the kids were eager to try on the traditional Saudi clothing,” Morin said. The campers showed no fear, though the visitors might have looked out of the ordinary in their native apparel, he said.
At another learning station, more laughter and excitement greeted a second group of Saudi students who were teaching children about their national flag and how to find the country on a map. They shared with campers their favorite American food – macaroni and cheese.
Music and song erupted from Calado’s station as she taught the children to sing along to “Parabéns Pra Você,” the Portuguese version of “Happy Birthday to You.” Calado shared pictures of animals from Brazil and spoke about the Brazilian flag.
The children practiced interacting with visitors by asking questions of their visitors, such as “What are your favorite things about living in America?” The language academy students responded: the friendly people, hamburgers and pizza.
Kincannon was excited to see the children interacting so well with their visitors.
“Some children may read to their peers, some may hold up signs, and some may use augmentative communication devices to participate,” she said. An augmentative communication device is a form of assistive technology—a device that increases, maintains or improves functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
All students participate in their own way, Kincannon said. “We find their strengths and allow them every opportunity to participate using those strengths.”
While the campers benefited from interacting with visitors, the language academy students gained experience in communicating using the English language.
“The Pirate SP.E.E.CH. Camp was a perfect opportunity to give our students experience…in a real-world setting,” Morin said. He said he would like the collaboration to become an annual event.
“I hope the children at the speech camp enjoyed our visit as much as the Language Academy students did,” he said.
For more information about the Language Academy, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/ecula/index.cfm