Bonfires, s'mores, lakes, fresh air, songs and friends that last a lifetime, are just some of the things kids look forward to at summer camp. Children with disabilities are no different. As a former camp counselor for several summers at a language immersion camp, we helped kids of all abilities develop skills that go far beyond the fire pit and lake shore. The benefits summer camp can provide for able-bodied children are often the very same for children with disabilities.
Parents can often face a lot of anxiety when sending their children to camp and even more so if they have a child with a special need. Will their child get the care they need while at camp? Will there be activities that will be safe and fun that their child can participate in? What about dietary need, medication, mobility equipment? Thankfully today more than ever there are endless possibilities for children of all abilities to have a safe and fun summer camp experience.
Some things to consider when choosing a summer camp for your child:
- What is it that you want your child to take away from their camp experience?
- What skills would you like your children to learn and develop?
- What daily needs does your child require and can your camp prospects accommodate them?
- How much contact will you have with your child while they are at camp?
- How long will your child be away at camp?
- Does the camp offer a wide range of activities that your child is not only interested in but can also participate in?
- Do you want your child to be with other children with similar disabilities or able-bodied children?
The Center for Children with Special Needs is a great starting place for finding a camp that fits your child's needs: http://cshcn.org/resources-contacts/summer-camp-directory
Friendships, memories, fun, skills and learning can last children a lifetime.