April 25, 2017
Summer is just around the corner which means many of us are planning for how we will manage child care coverage and foster learning and fun for our kids. Summer camp can be an intimidating adventure, especially for families of children that have special needs. Great news! The world, including summer camp, is constantly improving on special needs inclusion. If you’re considering signing your child up for a summer camp, here are five tips to help your family have a successful experience.
Selecting the Right Camp
Nowadays camps are hosting opportunities for you and your child to see the camp before you sign up. Once you find a camp you are interested in attend their open house, family weekend, or information session. This is your chance to ask all questions in person instead of speculating off their website. Make sure you are comfortable with the staff-to-camper ratio. These opportunities also allow you to see your child’s reaction to the staff, facilities, and other potential campers.
As always, communication is key. You should disclose everything about your child’s disability and medical needs on their camp application. If your child’s needs are too much for the camp, your child should not attend. The camp should be able to adapt to your child’s needs for the safety of all parties involved. By having all necessary information, the camp can make appropriate accommodations prior to your child’s arrival to ensure a smooth and streamlined experience.
Proactive Planning and Packing
The camp will provide you with a pack list to help you prepare for this fun adventure. Make sure you follow the list exactly. In addition to the camp’s recommendations, make sure all medications, medical equipment, and helpful phone numbers are included in your child’s bag to give to their caretakers. You’ll need to go over any treatment plans with the camp staff to guarantee everyone understands how to best care for your child.
You need to go over the camp’s outside communication policy with your child well before drop off. Whether it’s one phone call a day or handwritten letters only, limited outside contact is not something either of you will want to be surprised with. You should also prepare your child – and yourself – for homesickness. Your child will feed off of your energy, so present a confident, excited persona to get their camp experience started on the right foot.
Observing the Fun
Everyone loves photos! Check with the camp staff to see how you can view daily photos or receive updates in your child. A lot of camps will post pictures on their website for parental viewing. It will bring you much joy and reassurance to see your child enjoying their camp adventure.
We hope these tips encourage you to take the leap and sign your child up for summer camp. No matter their diagnosis or disability, there is a fun summer opportunity waiting for them. If you child does attend a camp this summer, we’d love to hear about their experience! Please email their details to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!