Summer camps for autistic kids provide a valuable opportunity for therapy, friendship and respite for family and caregivers. Both day camps and residential camps are an option, with some camps designed for higher functioning kids with autism and others for children with more challenges. Camp experiences include traditional outdoor activities, arts and crafts, academics and therapy.
Camps for children with autism offer various levels of support for your child’s special needs. Some camps offer a one-on-one camper to counselor ratio or a buddy system to help support your child. Available therapies and services are another consideration when selecting a camp. If your child is higher functioning, consider the activities offered and opportunities presented by each camp.
Summer camps for kids with autism provide kids with opportunities for hiking, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding and outdoor play. Therapy options, including equine therapy, art and music therapy, speech or physical therapy, may be integrated into the camp curriculum. Social support, picture schedules and daily living activities can help your child grow, learn and thrive in the camp environment.
Summer camp experiences can range from just one week to programs that last through most of the summer. Some shorter duration camps may allow campers to attend multiple sessions. A day camp may be a better choice if your child is not ready to spend nights away from home or has difficulty sleeping away from home. Residential camps provide round the clock care for your child and can be a positive step toward independence for an older child or teen.
When choosing a camp for your child, consider the environment that would work best for him. If he thrives in an integrated classroom, you may want to look for an inclusive camp that includes both special needs kids and those without special needs. An autism-specific camp may be ideal for a child who needs additional social skills training or sensory activities. A diverse special needs camp accommodates a variety of special needs. Extended school year programs may be offered through your school district for children in need of special help.
While summer camps for kids with autism can be expensive, financial help may be available. Check with the camp and your school district or state for financial assistance. You may also find that your local autism support organization can help you to access financial aid, scholarships or other monetary support for your child’s camp experience.