Summer is just around the corner, so itâ€™s time to start
thinking about summer camps for your special needs child. There are many exciting opportunities
for summer camps, and many are incredibly specialized -- many camps offer
summer programs to positively affect teens with issues such as ADHD, autism,
Aspergerâ€™s, obesity, learning differences, and behavioral problems.
While your child might struggle in traditional summer camps,
these specialized camps can provide the experiential therapy your teen needs.
Camps for ADHD and
Consider wilderness therapy for a child with ADHD -- these
camps help your child learn better concentration skills while also encouraging
appropriate and healthy social interaction. These programs also help your child deal with internal
conflicts and emotions; sometimes these programs can reach your child from a
different angle than traditional parenting or therapy. Wilderness therapy includes equine therapy,
ropes courses, community outreach, fishing, hiking, rafting, and other outdoor
activities. Activities provided in
these camps help treat angry or defiant behavior, out-of-control or impulsive
actions, anxiety or mood disorders, low self-esteem, which are associated with
diagnoses of ADHD and autism, among others. â€śGreen Timeâ€ť camps offer structured activities as well as
some freedom, and the structured social interaction promotes friendships and
Weight Loss Camps
There is a certain stigma regarding weight loss camps, but
many doctors agree that these camps can help get your child on the right track
regarding their personal health. Weight
loss camps should teach habits and lifestyle changes that your child can take
with him even after the camp is complete.
Find a camp with health professionals, such as doctors, nutritionists,
nurses, and psychologists. Good
programs will set attainable goals and will consider the personal likes and
dislikes of each individual. Group
dieting and exercise is also a great motivator, and the individuals in the
program do not have to â€śgo it alone.â€ť
By changing habits, many campers continue their weight loss and healthy
habits long after the camp.
While both boot camps and wilderness camps combine outdoor
activity and therapy, boot camps tend to be more physically challenging and
mentally demanding. They typically
apply military-style techniques, and for extreme behavioral issues, these camps
might be an option to consider. It
is important to learn the philosophy of these programs, read testimonials and
reviews, and weigh the pros and cons.
Wilderness camps tend to be more nurturing, and children are not pushed
beyond their capabilities.
Residential programs might be another welcome alternative for teens with
behavioral issues, such as drug behavior, truancy, and lack of respect.
Most successful camps for troubled teens have a high ratio
of counselors to students, which ensures your child will receive the proper
care and attention. Also check for
accreditation and if the staff of the program is certified or holds particular
degrees or experience. Look for a
camp with a combination of activity and therapy, so your child continues to get
a well-rounded experience even away from their traditional therapy sessions. Consider your goals and your childâ€™s
needs and desires -- ultimately, you want your child to have a positive learning
experience where the skills learned in the summer camp will translate to their
Photos by Visions Service Adventures and vancouverfilmschool