Believe it or not, summer months are just around the corner in the northern hemisphere. We may not want to admit it, but it’s time to start making plans for kids when school is not in session. Between vacations and reading lists, there is a lot to juggle. Luckily, this week’s Guest Expert talks to us about choosing a summer camp for kids with ADHD, LD, and related challenges.
According to Camp Director Ilana Stoch, camp has much more to offer our kids than typical summer activities that foster learning. It’s a chance for complex kids to work on a wide variety of skills for independence — from relationships to personal development. But to select the best fit for your child, effective communication is important.
Parents “need to be completely honest with the camp’s director about what their camper’s needs are; what their goals are for their camper that summer; and even if there are specific strategies that are really helpful. Camps want kids to be successful.” She continues that camps do not want to have to make a phone call saying that it’s not a good fit or that they can’t accommodate a child’s needs. “They want kids to be successful and to feel great about themselves…”
So what should a parent keep in mind?
- Parents want to know that they’re choosing “a program and an experience where their kids are going to be successful.” Ask about how the camp works with kids with complex issues. Make sure there is some experience on staff for handling kids who may not be as mature as their peers.
- “In terms of needs, parents need to be very specific about their camper. What their strengths are, what their challenges are, behavioral needs, medical needs. All of these things come into play. Even finding out if they’re an only child or if they have siblings.”
- “If a camper has had a really hard school year and there were specific incidents that happened at school, the parent needs to be forthright and share those incidents.” This enables the camp to make sure they can appropriately place and support each camper. And this enables the parent to narrow down options “based on what is going to be the best fit for your camper.”
There’s a lot more information. Tune in and listen to this twenty-minute interview with seasoned teacher-now-Camp-Director, Ilana Stoch, about choosing a summer camp for kids with ADHD & LD.
P.S. We have had many wonderful camp directors as Guest Experts over the years! You can find out more about camping for complex kids in their articles:
Outdoor Adventure Camp Experiences for Kids with ADHD by SOAR’s John Willson;
How to Make Home Like Camp by Summit’s Eugene Bell;
Summer is an Opportunity by Aerie Experiences Matthew Weneta; and
Help Your ADD/ADHD Child: Change Your Perspective by Edward Hallowell, MD
Explore summer programs particularly designed and well suited for complex kids: