Summer Camp Planning For Children With Special Needs

Summer Camp Planning For Children With Special NeedsPlanning for summer camp is the time when parents of typical children make camp choices based on their budgets, their child’s friendships, preferred activities and camp location. For parents of children with special needs, however, planning for summer camp involves additional considerations.

When selecting an appropriate summer program for children with special needs, questions may arise, such as the following: Is the staff equipped to manage my child? Will the staff be sensitive and respectful towards my child? How will my child interact with others? Will my child adjust to and follow rules in a new and potentially less structured setting? Will my child regress or lose the gains that were made in school?

What steps can parents of special needs children take in order to address their concerns and to ensure a successful and affordable camp experience?

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Does your child qualify for summer services provided by your school district?

2. What is your budget and what type of camp might be affordable if your district does not have an appropriate program? Often full day eight-week summer programs can be costly. Consider half-day or week-long specialty options.

SpecialNeeds_C3. What type of support (e.g., small camper to counselor ratio, shadow or one-on-one support) might be offered?

4. Will the camp accept support from outside providers?

5. Do the camp directors and counselors have experience with children who have special needs that are similar to the needs of your child?

6. How does the camp handle sensitive information regarding your child with special needs?

7. Is the camp willing to meet with you and your child to determine whether their summer program is appropriate?

8. What is the physical space of the camp? Can your child navigate the camp with the level of support that the camp provides?

9. Can your child visit camp a few times prior to the start of summer in order to ease the transition and address any further concerns?

SpecialNeeds_A10. Do you have the option to transport your child by car rather than by bus? If by bus, will your child have additional support when transported?

11. What type of medical care does the camp have and what is the level of attention the camp will pay to your child’s medical needs?

Summer should be a relaxing time for both you and your child. Staying within a budget and being equipped with adequate information can relieve anxiety and ease the transition to summer.

Alison Gilbert, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

Want It In Print?

We now offer matted and framed copies of articles upon request.

Alison Gilbert
Alison Gilbert, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine with a certificate in autism spectrum disorders from U.C. Davis.

Leave a Reply




Build Smarter: Sweeten CEO Shares Tips For Hiring A General Contractor

Springtime is prime time for home renovations. Getting large-scale projects done right and in a timely fashion takes the skill of a trustworthy contractor,...

Style Report

Top trends from New York Fashion Week for fall 2020 Vibrant colors and textures defined New York Fashion Week runways for the autumn/winter 2020 season....

A Jurassic Journey

An immersive experience captures the fierceness and ferocity of dinosaurs from the popular franchise The allure of dinosaurs has captivated both young and old for...

Call For Artists: Springtime 2020 Cover Contest

Anton Media Group, the publishers of 17 newspapers on Long Island, is putting together a cover contest open to local artists. The winner of...

Lakeside Sandwichathon Delivers For Hunger Relief

Once again, students, school staff members and administrators joined forces at Levy Lakeside School in Merrick to fight hunger. As part of a sixth...