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Autism and Summer Camps

I am sending my son to a summer camp at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center for two weeks. This is the first time my son has been to a “real” camp.

What did my son do during the previous summers?

My son was always in an Extended School Year program. The idea behind children with autism attending ESY programs is to give them some structure during the long summer break. Many don’t do well during the 10 week break. They need to retain some “school type” situation.

The rest of the summers were spent either vacationing or filling the days with local activities.

Are autism-related camps different?

Many camps are available for typical kids, but what about ones available for those on the spectrum?

If you’re in California and your child is a client of a regional center, you can ask them for a list of autism-related summer camps. You can also ask your child’s school if they have any references for camps that specialize in special needs.

If you need financial aid, ask your regional center to assistance with monetary support as well.

What do you need to bring to summer camp?

All camps are different. However, the list for your child’s camp may be similar to my son’s camp.

(Most will provide your child with a t-shirt that the camp would want your child to wear. Plus, make sure that everything you send to camp has a label on it with your child’s name.)

*Snacks and pack lunch (Most camps do not have a refrigerator, so do not bring items that need to remain cold, or provide an ice pack)


*Bathing suit and towel

*Change of clothes

*A water bottle

*Tennis shoes and water shoes

*Label all items and all bags sent to camp

What times are camps?

My son is attending a day camp. Perhaps one day he’ll want to attend an overnight camp, but that time has yet to come.

My son has to be at camp between 8 and 9 in the morning, and he gets picked up no later than 3 pm.

I mention the above to make you aware to honor the times set by the camp. Do not be late picking up your child. Some camps may even impose a monetary penalty.

Be respectful of your child’s camp. They are trying to make summer safe and fun.


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