’ Never
give up on
yourself. You can
always do more
than you think
you can ’

 

Helping others find a voice
‘They need to know they have a place in this world’
Photo by William Suarez.

Who: Marshall Hohmann, 15 (above right), computer geek, biker, soccer player, mentor who speaks with voice technology.

What: Helping other children find their voice in Chat Club, a Bloorview program that brings together children and youth using voice-output devices to boost their comfort and skill communicating in a wide-range of situations. Experienced technology-users like Marshall mentor younger children like Keith Qualtrough (left), who was trying out a voice device for the first time.

Where: A community-based program in Durham, in partnership with Grandview Children’s Centre.

When: An evening every two weeks over a 12-week period.

Why: “I get to help the younger kids program their (devices) and let them see that they can chat with other people in the community,” Marshall says. “They need to know that they have a place in this world. When the parents see me mentoring they realize ‘wow, maybe my kid can get there too.’ ”

How: Chat Club includes outings such as a cooking class at Loblaws, shopping at the mall and a movie-trivia night. “Younger kids need somebody to push them,” Marshall says. “My advice is to never give up on yourself. You can always do more than you think you can.

 

Bloorview Kids Rehab | Bloorview’s Resource Centre