'Camp Yes And' for Teens on the Autism Spectrum Doubling its Impact in 2016 (IN UCEDD)

May 2, 2016

Last summer, the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning and the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at IU's Indiana Institute on Disability and Community founded Camp Yes And -- a summer improv camp for teens on the autism spectrum and teachers. In 2016, the camp will double its impact, offering one week of camp in Bloomington (July 11-15, 2016) and one week in Indianapolis (July 18-22, 2016). The Institute has launched a peer-to-peer funding campaign to support the camp's free tuition for all participants. To donate, visit the Camp's Fundly website.

At Camp Yes And, teens and teachers learn improv as a way to develop social communication skills and transform teaching and learning. The camp is designed to support verbal teens (ages 13-18) on the autism spectrum, or those with a similar diagnosis, who would benefit from support around building social communication skills. Camp also is a free professional learning opportunity for teachers -- including para-educators, mentors, supervisors, etc. -- of any discipline working in K-12 public or private, university, and/or community-based settings (e.g. arts or social services organizations). To learn more about camp and register, visit the Camp Yes And website.

Fans who remember watching Drew Carey and friends make up characters, scenes and songs on the TV show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" know that improvisational theater, or improv, is a lot of fun. Not everyone realizes, however, that improv also is a highly refined system of observing, connecting, and responding that has one major rule: Yes, and. At its heart, improv is about group agreement and support -- saying yes to each other and building something new together.

Once again, the camp will be co-directed by Jim Ansaldo of Indiana University and Lacy Alana, the building connections program director at the Hideout Theatre of Austin, Texas. "Last year's camp was very well received," says Ansaldo. "We hope to make an even bigger impact by offering two weeks of camp in 2016." 

Feedback from 2015 camp participants was overwhelmingly positive. "I will use what I learned in social situations at school," said one teen. A teacher noted, "These days, I use my Camp Yes And curriculum weekly to support my middle schoolers' language and social communication goals... and most importantly - they love it!" For additional information, contact Jim Ansaldo at (812) 855-6508 or e-mail jansaldo@indiana.edu.

About the Center's on Education and Lifelong Learning and Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana Institute on Disability and Community

The Center on Education and Lifelong Learning and Indiana Resource Center for Autism are two of seven centers at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana's University Center for Excellence. The Indiana Institute is a leader in the transfer of research and new knowledge in disability from the university setting to communities in Indiana and nationally.

About the Office of the Vice Provost for Research

The mission of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research is to work with individuals, teams, centers, institutes, and schools to foster excellence in research and creative activities and to offer support to faculty to successfully compete for external funding. OVPR provides consultation, proposal development services, competitive internal funding programs, and research infrastructure for a wide range of research, scholarly, and creative activities.