A network to share best practices for children with special needs
I recently found myself discussing with a parent the many opportunities a positive camp experience offers children. It dawned on me during the conversation that the parent had almost "given up" on the idea that her child could have a real camp experience. Now, let me be clear on what I mean by a "camp experience." It's not an extension of school such as a summer school day program. A "camp experience" is a true adventure whre the student experiences personal growth in a new way.
There are many specific camps for children with special needs, and there are also very capable camps that, with a little information from the parent, are willing and able to accomodate any special needs of a child. A parent also needs to rely on their "gut" instinct when it comes to whether or not the camp is right for his/her child.
In my area:
1. Local YMCAs offer sports camps or swimming programs.
2. Special Olympics has a great camp program.
3. There are numerous art and drama camps.
4. There are even golf and chess clubs.
5. Since I live in an area with a lot of theme parks, I've also found camps connected to local attractions that are equipped and able host kids of differing abilities.
A good question to ask a camp is how do they pick and train their counselors? Also, be honest when informing the camp about how to communicate with your child to ensure they'll have the best camp experience possible. Now, with all that said, is it always easy? No, course it's not easy, but please don't give up! You may find a new talent or skill or, best of all, a new friend!
Has your child had a great camp experience?