Families of children with disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), often search for opportunities to acquire information about and receive emotional support from others who may have or had similar experiences. An evaluation of the Dakota Black Goose Family Autism Camp sought to determine the impact of the family camp experience. Pre- and Post-Camp surveys were administered upon families’ arrival at Camp and prior to their departure (n=17) to evaluate the overall quality of the program as well as the level of informational and emotional support anticipated and received. Follow-up interviews were completed six months post Camp to determine how and if families incorporated the information provided at Camp into their daily lives. Overall, participants in Dakota Black Goose Family Autism Camp found a great deal of benefit from participation, especially as it related to information gathering, networking and emotional support, and opportunities for family members with ASD to be able to engage with others in a safe and accepting environment.


Autism Spectrum Disorders, Disability, Families, Family Camp, Support, Mixed-Method Design

Author Bio(s)

Luchara Wallace is an AssociateProfessor of Special Education at Western Michigan University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: luchara.wallace@wmich.edu.


A special thank you to the Larsen family for your continued commitment to the families of South Dakota and the Autism community.

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