Are you and your family eagerly awaiting the days of summer vacation? You probably have your own favorites: camping with friends, marshmallows roasting, chasing fireflies into the dusk hours, and whispering secrets long into the night. Can you picture a location for these? Sounds like an amazing time at a summer camp! Even if your family includes children with learning differences, you can still plan a phenomenal summer vacation for them, inclusive of a classic summer camp experience. There are numerous specialized summer programs across the nation for children interested in an Autism Summer Camp, ADHD Summer Camp, or Aspergers Summer Camp. Many of these programs are unique for children who have a learning difference, diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Others are mainstream summer camps with special offerings for campers of all abilities. Read on to learn our 10 things to keep in mind while choosing a summer camp.
- What are you child’s interests?Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders are just as diverse as neurotypical peers, therefore it is important to consider your child’s unique interests to ensure a phenomenal summer.
- Is your child interested in outdoor activities such as kayaking or fishing, or do they prefer indoor options such as arts and crafts?
- At Talisman Camps, we offer unique courses for our campers who are interested in adventure and leadership, for example, all while weaving fundamental skill building throughout.
- Have you done your research? The list of Autism Summer Camps, ADHD Summer Camps and Aspergers Summer Camps is continuously growing; which one is the right choice for your child? There is a wealth of information online to help you get started.
- Review national websites to get a general idea about each program.
- Investigate and compare individual program websites to further review their accreditations, family testimonials, upcoming offerings.
- The Federation for Children With Special Need’s camp guide and the American Camp Association’s guide
- Know your summer plans! You’re going to want to help your child prep for the summer camp experience, and you will be investing time and money in their stay, so be sure you know your vacation calendar. Pencil in other planned getaways, visits from friends or relatives, and other obligations so that your child is free to attend the scheduled days.
- Logistics: Hours and Location. Particularly for those considering day camps, is the schedule going to be something that works for your family? If the camp lets out at 3 pm and you typically work until 5 pm, how far is the location? Who will be responsible for picking up your child? Don’t forget about traffic and weather delays when considering driving distance! If you’re not going to do an overnight camp, keep things easy on yourself and choose a close location.
- Overnight Camp? Is your child ready for a sleepaway program or would a day program be a better fit?
- Has your child has successfully stayed overnight at a friend’s house (and enjoyed it)?Can he or she manage a few basic things for themselves (such as getting dressed and a morning hygiene routine)?
- If your child has had a sleepaway experience before, then talk with them about expanding upon that fun time.
- Trained staff will help your child establish a camp routine, essential for many campers with learning differences, but your child must have a basic level of independence.
Should you feel your child is not quite ready, there are several day Autism Summer Camp, ADHD Summer Camp and Aspergers Summer Camp options that will help ease your son or daughter into the camping experience.
- Talk with others. Odds are parents from your child’s classroom or school have sent their children to Autism Summer Camps, ADHD Summer Camps and Aspergers Summer Camps. They can offer insightabout the process and reviews. Be sure to ask specific questions!
You may also ask your child’s teacher or counselor to make introductions toother parents. Connecting via community support groups or online social medial platforms (such as Facebook parent groups) can be further review sources.
- What’s the budget?There’s no way around the fact that summer camps can be costly, particularly if you are not just looking at those close to home. There will be the fees associated with camp, travel, special gear. Many see the value of the money spent for specialized summer camps, but planning is key.
Know you’re budget and stick to it. If you think you may need financial assistance, ask early! Some camps offer scholarships to their campers directly, but spots fill quickly. Local groups, Rotary and Kiwanis,may be able to help and check out Autism Speaks.
- How are the staff?You’re going to want to be confident that the staff taking care of your son or daughter are top notch. Many camps offer days where your family can visit just so that you can meet program staff, check out the locations, and have a better sense of where your child will be spending time. Take advantage of these opportunities! Also be sure to ask:
- What type of training do staff members undergo?
- Up to date on CPR and First Aid certifications?
- Types of counseling licensure?
- What medical staff are on site?
- Accredited by The American Camp Association?
- Visit! Programs offer days where potential campers and families can visit. Nothing will give you a better sense of the program than seeing the facilities first-hand for yourself. Talisman Camps would love to schedule a time for you to stop by and meet staff as well as check out our pristine camp!
- Camp is meant to help your child grow! Camp is meant to encourage your child to have new experiences and work outside their comfort zone. You want to ensure diversity in offerings to help nudge your child along.Identify the Autism Summer Camp, ADHD Summer Camp, or Aspergers Summer Camp that will meld with your child’s interests, push them to grow, and allow them to have fun!
Author Bio :
Martin is a passionate health blogger. He served as a volunteer in a peace corps in Africa. Because of his passion toward writing and helping others, he started his career as a writer with Talisman summer camp where he now works as a content manager. He is a regular volunteer at the hospital for special children.