Summer camp can be a memorable, educational and even therapeutic experience for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Some kids with ADHD will thrive in traditional camps and do not require any special accommodations, but others may do best in a camp designed for children with learning disabilities or special needs.
Camps for children with ADHD generally fall into four basic types. Some focus on providing a social environment and encouraging friendships in a traditional camp environment, like Summit Camp in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Adventure-style camps, such as SOAR-North Carolina teach leadership skills and include more extreme or daring activities. Educational summer camp programs or residential summer schools will help a child who is struggling academically, while summer treatment programs teach behavioral modification, as at the Clearpool Summer Program in Carmel, New York. You can also choose a traditional, inclusive camp or a specialized camp geared toward your child’s individual interests.
Summer camps for kids with ADHD can provide child care, respite for mom and dad, teach skills and give your child a fun summer. Moreover, if your child struggles with making friends or functioning well in a school setting, a specialized camp experience may allow him to make friends, feel like one of the crowd, and gain confidence. Camp can help your child recognize his strengths and enjoy feelings of social and behavioral success.
A camp geared specifically for kids with ADHD is prepared to handle medication needs, provide a lower counselor to camper ratio, and manage children with additional behavioral challenges. Some traditional camps can also meet your child’s needs. Close supervision, well defined expectations and a willingness to allow children to experience the consequences of their actions can all help to create a positive and disciplined camp environment.
Consider your child’s needs and typical behavior when choosing the right camp experience for her, as well as her interests and preferences. Children with more significant challenges may do better in a camp designed for their needs. When you’ve narrowed your list, speak to his teacher or counselor for suggestions or input to help him have a successful summer camp experience.
Before you opt for a sleep-away camp, make certain that your child is ready for the overnights away from home and can adapt to new situations and environments. Medication levels should be stable. Be honest with the camp about behavioral concerns, including aggression. Some camp environments are prepared to handle children with significant behavioral difficulties, while others are not.