For many kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and their families, an ADHD summer camp can be a welcome change of pace.
About ADHD Summer Camp
Children with ADHD are usually ill-equipped to handle traditional summer camps. What's more, regular camps typically hire teenagers and other well-meaning employees who are unfamiliar with the needs of differently-abled kids. As a result, children with ADHD are frequently labeled as behavior problems, troublemakers, or even learning disabled. These special kids need special camps.
Most camps for children with ADHD are designed by physicians, psychologists, or special education professionals. Ideally, they provide a balance of education, treatment, fun, and recreation. Many also focus on developing skills needed for effective everyday life, such as:
- Social skills
- Self esteem
- Coping with ADD or ADHD
- Time management
These camps typically focus on each camper's strengths and strive to teach the children to move beyond labels and reach their own potential.
Choosing a Camp
While all special needs camps exist to help children reach their full potential, their methods can vary. To help your child receive maximum benefit from his time away, it is important to find a camp that fits his needs, health, personality, and skills. Keep the following questions in mind as you compare camps:
- What is the camp's discipline policy?
- Are campers allowed to phone, write, or email home?
- What are the qualifications of the camp employees?
- Does the camp allow family visits?
- What is the camp's philosophy or mission statement? Does it mesh with your beliefs?
- What accommodations are made to deal with ADHD?
- What are the physical requirements of the campers?
- What types of treatment, counseling, or education are offered?
- What is the ratio of adults to campers?
- Is the treatment or education balanced by fun and adventure?
- Is the camp accredited?
- Is the tuition all-inclusive, or will there be additional charges?
The Learning Camp
The Learning Camp is located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The camp accepts boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger's, and learning disabilities. All camp counselors are professionals trained to work with special needs children. The facility strives to provide a combination of education and adventure. Activities include:
- Horseback riding
The cost of the camp is approximately $1000 - $2000 per week.
Success Oriented Achievement Realized (SOAR) offers an adventure camp for boys and girls, ages 8-18, with learning disabilities, ADD, and ADHD. The company has facilities in the following areas:
- Costa Rica
- North California
SOAR focuses on helping each camper reach his full potential. Rather than emphasize the ADHD, SOAR professionals highlight each child's strengths, skills, and talents. In an effort to foster each child's independence, campers are not allowed to phone home.
The program costs approximately $1000 - $2000 per week.
Talisman is located in North Carolina, and offers camp programs for children and teens with ADD, ADHD, Aperger's, and learning disabilities. This fully accredited camp focuses on emphasizing individual strengths, nurturing bonds, and building self esteem, all in an adventurous, wilderness setting.
Although the staff does not consist entirely of trained professionals, all are at least college students in a related field.
Tuition ranges from $2000 - $2900 per session.
Other ADHD Summer Camps
These are just a fraction of the camps catering to children with ADHD. Others include:
- Camp Kirk, Ontario; serves boys and girls, ages 6 to 13
- Camp Huntington, New York; serves boys and girls, ages 6 to 21
- Round Lake Camp, Pennyslvania; serves boys and girls, children and teens
- Camp Timberwolf, North Carolina; serves boys and girls, ages 7 to 13
- River Oaks Academy, Texas; serves boys and girls, ages 5 to 15