Exercise: Children need exercise, especially kids with ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s and other learning differences. Physical activity builds muscles, burns fat and calories and should be part of a child’s everyday routine. At summer camp, children get plenty of exercise! Studies have also shown that exercise releases endorphins in the brain, these same endorphins help regulate mood and behavior, something that is essential for children with learning differences.
Social Skills: Camp is social. Children will have ample opportunities to socialize with other kids who “know where they are coming from”. Further, they will be given guidance on how to socialize in appropriate ways by staff who are trained to look for opportunities to teach social skills and life lessons. Unfortunately, many children with learning differences can’t attend (or are not invited to) events like sleepovers or church lock-ins. Summer Camp is a safe and supervised way for kids with special needs learn how to interact at social events where their parents might not be present.
New Friends: Every summer across America, life-long friends are made at camp. Camps for children with learning differences are no different. By focusing on developing social skills and encouraging positive interaction amongst campers, special needs camps give children with learning differences the opportunity to be a “cool kid” and make many friends.
New Talents: Camp is a chance for kids to learn new skills that they might not have the opportunity to learn at home or at school. Camping, fishing, archery, canoeing, horseback riding, and more are all taught at summer camp. Kids need the opportunity to try new things and discover new talents in a safe environment with lots of encouragement.
Confidence: Discovering new skills and talents lead to confidence. All children, but especially those children with learning differences benefit from increase self-esteem. At the end of camp, don’t be surprised to hear your child say such things as “look what I made”, “I shot a bull’s-eye”, or “I made it the entire week on my own!”
A Break: Even if you do not need a break from your kids, they might need a break from you. This might be even more so if your child has learning differences. It is healthy for a child to want some independence and it is important that they have safe opportunities to be independent.
Independence: We all know that children with learning differences can have a hard time learning
independence. Summer Camps are a safe and nurturing place for kids to start learning how to take care of themselves. Personal hygiene, organization, and scheduling are just some of the skills that children will learn and practice at camp. Sometime, the “break” that is taken results in both parent and child realizing just how capable they are!
Charis Hills Camp