The Easterseals Iowa Assistive Technology Program has collaborated with the University of Iowa Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Northern Iowa Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the Iowa Area Educational Agencies to offer an AAC Camp at Camp Sunnyside. The Summer of 2020 was the second year to offer this opportunity and due to COVID, the collaborative team offered an alternative option. The program transition to a virtual three-day camp through Zoom and the universities created an interactive website to guide each day. Easterseals Iowa Assistive Technology team members also provided “Camp in a Box”, where each attendee was mailed a box with all of the books, crafts, and necessary supplies they would need for camp activities.
In total, four attendees between the ages of 13 and 17 from across the state participated virtually. Campers had the opportunity to engage with books, practice vocabulary, and participate in creative activities with peers and graduate students studying Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Northern Iowa and The University of Iowa (under the supervision of their professors). Activities supported expressive language and literacy skills in a fun learning environment via Zoom video conferencing. Each AAC Camp session was one hour, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Tuesday, July 28th, Wednesday, July 29th, and Thursday, July 30th, 2020. After the virtual camp, satisfaction surveys were sent to each attendee and family. 100% of attendees reported that they learned information that will improve their ability to say what they want or need.