Summer Camp Helps Kids With Autism Work on Social Skills

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CARROLL, Iowa –All kids want something fun to do in the summer. It can be hard for parents to keep kids learning when they’re out of school, especially when their child has trouble communicating and interacting with others. A Carroll couple started a new kind of camp to help.

Kristen and Joel Lundstrom started the Carroll Summer Fun Camp. It’s a six week camp held on the DMACC campus in Carroll. Twenty-five students signed up for the first year.

They practice sports, do science experiments, yoga, and dance, but the most important part of the Carroll Summer Fun Camp is what you might not notice. Kristen Lundstrom said, “It is an education based summer camp that half of the kids are on the autism spectrum and half of the kids are typical peers."

Lundstrom helped at a similar camp in Kansas before the family moved to Carroll last year. She is not a teacher, but has plenty of experience. She said, "I'm just a mom with two kids that are both on the spectrum."

Eleven year-old Tyson and seven year-old Charlie have autism. Their parents started the camp to help them, and their peers, work on social skills during the summer. Joel Lundstrom said, "A lot of these kids, if they didn't have this opportunity, might be at home playing video games all day long and not having that interaction."

This is the first year for Carroll Summer Fun Camp. They're already making plans for next year. And, they hope it inspires other communities to start something similar. Mr. Lundstrom said, "This is something we really think could be spread to other communities. Carroll has been very generous, but there are a lot of great communities in Iowa, and we'd love to see other communities step up and possibly start an opportunity for these kids on the autism spectrum."

Tuition and donations helped pay for the teachers at the camp. The Lundstroms set up a Go Fund Me page and are applying for grants for next year. You can find The Carroll Summer Fun Camp on Facebook or e-mail the couple at