For over thirty years the LightHouse has offered a session at Enchanted Hills specifically for campers who are Deaf-Blind. This year 26 campers attended, most from the Bay Area, making it the largest such gathering in California in 2013.
In addition, 30 volunteer SSP’s (Support Service Providers) helped out with intensive communication assistance. [Support Service Providers are specially trained professionals who enable people who have combined vision and hearing losses to access their environments and communicate. Source: http://www.aadb.org/information/ssp/ssp.html.] SSP’s make sure every announcement or instruction between camp staff and camper is communicated to the camper via tactile sign language.
All the campers were able to enjoy recreational activities such as swimming, boating, games, archery, crafts, hiking, parties during the evening and a presentation on the latest in accessible technology. But because Deaf-Blind people are often isolated due to communication and transportation barriers, the most valuable part of this camp session is that it gives Deaf-Blind campers the opportunity to speak to others using American Sign Language.
Says LightHouse Deaf-Blind Specialist Sook Hee Choi, “Everyone enjoys the camp. Campers meet new friends and also talk with old friends, catching up with news. People who are sighted and hearing take this for granted, but for Deaf-Blind campers, this can only happen when they are physically present and able to touch each other through tactile sign language.”