News • May 29, 2018

CBU provides a supportive group for individuals suffering from communication disorders

Communication disorders CBU

Riverside, Calif. (May 25, 2018) – California Baptist University hosted its first speech-and-language-therapy camp on May 14. The camp was the first of six sessions that will take place in consecutive weeks until June 4. The camp is free and open to individuals seeking speech language recovery.

During a session on May 23, blank canvases with clean brushes and an array of paint options awaited camp participants at a group activity. As the participants followed step-by-step instructions on how to paint a sunflower, graduate students from California Baptist University offered guidance and encouragement along the way. The room was full of chatter as CBU students asked questions, encouraging the participants respond. For this group, the more talking the better.

“The camp helps people with serious communication disorders to come and experience community. That meets a really fundamental human need for connection,” said Dr. Candace Vickers, associate professor and program director of communication disorders.

The Clinical Education Center at CBU organized the camp, with graduate students from the Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology providing individual and group therapy. The participants, mostly from the Inland Empire, are part of the Communication Recovery Group Riverside, which the center organizes.

Not being able to communicate can be isolating, Vickers said.

“In the group therapy setting of the camp, we’re providing an atmosphere where communication is the goal,” Vickers said. “That’s where the magic happens. People smiling at each other, who understand what it’s like when one can’t say a word.”

The participants also take part in various activities. These exercises provide another way to communicate and process mentally, said Dr. Danette Bonillo, director of the Clinical Education Center.

“You want to them to feel successful and to have positive communication experiences to the best of their ability,” Bonillo said.

Ultimately, the camp provides an opportunity to serve the underserved in the community, Bonillo said.

“It’s a culmination of service and volunteer opportunities,” Bonillo said. “We want to serve God through our talents.”