You can’t change the past or the present, but you can change the future.

First Steps Camp: Family Education and Experience Program


First Steps Camp (FSC) is an extended weekend long camp for children and their families who may have recently received their Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, or are waiting to receive it, and are just now entering into the world of “technology for communication”. This camp is held at the Easter Seals Camp facility in Empire, Colorado. 

First Steps Camp is a family weekend away, up in the mountains, with lots of help and support to begin the journey of using an AAC device. And it’s fun! Remember going to camp when you were a child?  The camp is beautiful and provides cabins, showers, etc. (not tents and a bathhouse, but… “rustic”) with great activities for children with special needs, and the staff to plan and implement them.

Scholarship assistance is made available through a generous grant from the Rollie R. Kelley Family Foundation to help families with the costs associated in attending First Steps Camp.

Important Information:

  • All families will be asked to pay a portion towards the cost of the FSC program
  • To be considered for scholarship assistance, please complete the Scottish Rite Foundation of Colorado application. 
  • Insurance (including Medicaid Health Coverage) will not be billed for this camp program. 
  • Once the applications are received, they will be reviewed and a “family rate” will be assigned to the family. 
  • This family rate is what the family will be required to pay for the entire program.

Once your applications have been reviewed you will be notified of your family rate and the due dates. You will then receive additional information and application materials.  (If your child has attended any of the Easter Seals Camp program within the year, you will not have to complete another camp application form, unless information has changed.)  If you do not wish to utilize Scottish Rite funding, we can arrange for you to pay privately.  Also, please contact Children's Colorado if you are interested in having more than one sibling attend and/or any other adults (e.g., school personnel, SLP etc.).

What can you expect to learn and experience from this program?

The First Steps Camp is an opportunity for you to be involved in a program that we hope is aimed at addressing your child’s needs as well as your own in the process of understanding the technology used for AAC and ways to implement it in your home and family life.  You will also have an opportunity to get to know others who are at the same place in this journey as you are, as well as talk to “veteran” parents and children who have been using an AAC device to communicate for a long time.

Children’s Hospital Colorado speech-language therapy staff will provide some group therapy for your child and assistance to you in implementing learning “strategies” to be used in your home environment. You will participate in many sessions of “parent training” and talk about what is important to learn and do when using an AAC device at home. There will be manufacturer consultants there who will assist in teaching you about the “technical” aspects of your child’s AAC device. 

The Easter Seal staff will provide the organization and implementation of recreational activities for your children while you are in training sessions. Meals and lodging will be provided at camp. You will provide the personal care needed for your children (e.g., feeding, bathing, medications, etc.).

Contact Us

For questions about First Steps Camp please contact Christy Schneller at (720) 777-3616 or by email at christine.schneller@childrenscolorado.org.