The Erickson Learning Center, Inc. was started in 1986 by Caryn Edwards and a small group of parents and educators who felt there was a great need in the Lansing area for additional types of educational services. It was started in Haslett, Michigan in a small, two room office. Within a year, this office space was too small and the Center was moved to its present location in Okemos. Two years later a branch was started in Jackson, Michigan. This was very successful and the Jackson branch expanded rapidly and soon changed its location to W. Ganson, Jackson, Michigan
In 1995, once again a parent and an educator came to Caryn Edwards from a small town in the Upper Peninsula and wanted to start a branch of the Erickson Learning Center in their town. With this interest and dedication, another branch was quickly started. As in the previous branches, soon space became an issue and this branch was moved twice to its present location on W. Arbutus St. in Manistique. By 1996, the original Center in Okemos had grown so much that a Lansing Branch was started to help accommodate students and families in the Lansing area.
The name of the Centers’ came from Caryn Edwards. Her parents, as well as many extended family members, were educators. Therefore, she used her maiden name as the Center's name. The Centers were named Erickson, in honor of her family and their dedication to children and education. Caryn's father Carl Erickson, was a teacher of Special Education, then assistant Principal, and eventually a Principal. Carl Erickson felt strongly that the office in Haslett, Michigan was too small and he bought the house in Okemos, Michigan and gave Caryn counseling and many curriculum ideas. He strong supported the Erickson Learning Foundation wanting all students to have the opportunity to attend the Center. Mr. Erickson was very proud of the Center and how it helped the students. Then Centers and the Foundation were named for him. He was greatly respected by everyone. Carl passed away this year (2001), but left a strong legacy and the gift of teaching for everyone at the Center. Through his guidance we have tutored hundreds of students and trained many teachers in methods to help those with Learning Disabilities.
In 1989, it became evident that many people needed the services of the Centers, but could not afford them. At this time, a non-profit organization was established, called the Erickson Learning Foundation. It is designed to help financially needy students receive academic training and to disseminate information on learning styles and learning disorders. The driving force with the Erickson Learning Foundation was to give more people access to an education through additional support. This foundation has been very effective since 1989.
The philosophy of the Erickson Learning Center is to allow all children and adults reach their full potential through matching their unique learning needs individually to a program and teachers who can deliver an academic plan that will work for them.
The educational practices are based upon many research programs and methods. The staff believes strongly in working in a team effort with schools, agencies, organizations and other professionals who work with their students. The programs are delivered by professionals who are specifically trained to meet the student’s individual needs. These professionals continually update their education through workshops, local, state and national conferences, and university courses.
The Erickson Learning Centers have provided one-on-one tutoring, diagnostic evaluations and disseminated information on services, learning styles, learning disorders, etc. to thousands of students, families and educators across Michigan. In addition, they have trained thousands of educators and parents in methodologies that work for students.
Caryn has learned a lot from her experience on the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. This very talented and dedicated group has done an excellent job of disseminating information on Learning Disorders, including two new books in Spanish. At times, this information is also published on our homepage. Caryn's teacher training continues to grow with the recent addition of a train-the-trainer program for the Michigan Prison system. She has also published the new "Erickson Reader" and six excellent work books.