Camp ALEC 2016

Camp will again be held at Indian Trails Camp in Grand Rapids, MI. This is a beautiful barrier free camp. Indian Trails hosts campers of all abilities, and can provide 1:1 care if needed. They are staffed with a full time nurse and offer many recreational activities for the campers.  You can visit Indian Trails Camp at:

IT fall cabins

Camp Dates August 14-20, 2016

2016 camp application – COMING SOON

Campers whose primary communication mode is AAC (Augmentative and alternative communication) are highly encouraged to attend.  During this session campers will enjoy our regular recreational activities and also work daily with educational specialists on literacy-related activities.  Informal descriptive reports of literacy assessments and evidence -based interventions are provided to families to share with their educational teams.  Literacy activities will be held in 1:1 settings and customized based on each camper’s unique needs.  Children and young adults with physical and language disabilities are welcome to attend Literacy Camp!  Campers MUST have a reliable means of communication, which may include an AAC system. At minimum, campers should recognize most of their letters and letter sounds as well as demonstrate an interest in and the ABILITY TO ATTEND to book reading activities.  However, this camp is NOT just for beginning readers.  Required with the application should be a current IEP (recent educational evaluation reports can be submitted in addition to the IEP) and for new applicants a video up to five minutes long showing us how your child communicates and examples of page sets they use.  More information regarding the video will be included with the application.  These will allow us to enable customized assessment and intervention throughout the week.

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Adult Registration

Registration for adult participants has closed for the summer of 2015. If you have already applied, you will be hearing about acceptance for participation before March 15, 2015. If you didn’t have a chance to apply, please check it out again next year. We will be back in 2016.  You must have completed the Literacy 1 training course prior to applying for this Level 2 training course.

What I learned from Camp

Our very own Tina was invited to write about Camp ALEC.  Please see her posting below!

Lessons learned from Camp (posted on Practical AAC)

by tinahmoreno
Wow! What an honor to be invited by PrAACtical AAC to submit a guest blog about Camp ALEC! Many, many thanks to Carole Zangari for letting me share my experiences and some of the many lessons I learned. I included stories from the amazing week spent last summer with campers and educators who traveled from all over the U.S. and Canada to be a part of our first year. You’ll also find some tools, such as spelling boards and information on helping kids get published on TarHeel Reader.

Here is the link to my guest blog:

AAC Goes To Summer Camp

Applications are coming in for Camp ALEC 2015, which will be offered August 9-15 at the beautiful barrier-free Indian Trails Camp in Grand Rapids, MI. If you’re hoping to send your child to camp, please get your application to us soon. Adults are also welcome to apply because this camp is NOT just for kids! We promise teachers, SLPs and administrators a week–with literacy experts Drs. Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver and some of the world’s most spectacular children–that you will never forget. Educators who have already attended a week-long Level 1 training with this dynamic duo are eligible to apply.


We are so excited to begin this fundraising campaign with eLove. Click on the link below to order your I love Camp ALEC shirt OR one of the eLove shirts. Make sure you enter fundraising code “CampAlecDirect” on the second page of check out. All proceeds will go directly to the Alec G Cunningham Foundation which supports Camp ALEC. Please spread the word. Our campaign only goes until December 7. Great holiday gift idea!…/i-heart-camp-alec-fundraiser-apparel
We are so excited to begin this fundraising campaign with eLove. Click on the link below to order your I love Camp ALEC shirt OR one of the eLove shirts. Make sure you enter fundraising code “CampAlecDirect” on the second page of check out. All proceeds will go directly to the Alec G Cunningham Foundation which supports Camp ALEC. Please spread the word. Our campaign only goes until December 7, 2014. Great holiday gift idea!


Indian Trails Host Camp for Camp ALEC 2015 August 9-15, 2015

What happens when you get a group of Special Needs Parents together?  You get things DONE!  You create CHANGE!

Indian Trails began in the 1950’s by a group of parents whose children did not have the same recreational activities as their peers, due to their disabilities.  So, with guidance from the Grand Rapids Public School System and the City of Grand Rapids granting a permanent site at AMAN Park to the camp, Indian Trails was born.  The first official camp was in 1953.

Indian Trails is a camp for the physically and developmentally disabled.  They offer camp activities for EVERYONE at camp.  Want to feel what it is like to fly through the trees?  Indian Trails can give  our kids that feeling through their zip line.  Yes, even for kids with physical disabilities.  They also offer a climbing wall, to give our kids that feeling of climbing Mt. Everest. (Let’s use our imagination here!)

When we visited Indian Trails it was on a beautiful fall day.  The red of the cabins blended beautifully with the yellows, golds and oranges of the leaves on the trees.  Each cabin features heated flooring (won’t need that this summer-I hope!), air-conditioning and-no bunk beds!  No fighting over who gets the bottom bunk!  Each cabin also features a screened in porch!  The cabins are in a semi circle, with a fire pit in the center.  Great community meeting space for all campers.

On the grounds is a fabulous play space adapted for all kids.  Indian Trails also offers many different bikes for kids to ride.  Even one that offers “off road” tires.  That would be the one I would try!  There is also a beautiful indoor heated swimming pool.  No worries about sunscreen or rainy weather to interfere with swimming activities.

Rootbeer lake, as it is affectionally called, is a man made lake for water activities.  Campers will be able to enjoy rides on their pontoon boat, perhaps cast a line to go fishing.  Catch dinner for the evening perhaps?

So many fun activities await us for the summer.  We can’t wait.  If you can’t wait to see the camp, check it out online, the link is below. If you want to, your camper could enjoy a winter weekend.  They are open year round.

We also hear the food is FABULOUS!

Indian Trails

IT fall cabins IT Fall Rootbeer Lake

Meet Drs. Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver

Karen EricksonDr.  Karen Erickson is the Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill within the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences.  A part of Karen’s literacy work focuses on assessment and instruction for individuals with significant disabilities.  Karen has helped to develop Tar Heel Reader, an online library of accessible stories for beginning readers.  Karen, along with David Koppenhaver, continue to hold workshops and trainings using the four  blocks whole to part assessment.

You can find Karen at:

David Koppenhaver Dr. David Koppenhaver is a professor at the Appalachian State University for the Department of Reading and Special Education.  David works with Karen Erickson researching the area of literacy for children with significant disabilities.  David is co-founder of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  You can find David at: