Is your child begging to go to camp? Or maybe you’re looking for new ways to help your child with special needs socialize and develop.
It’s scary to entrust any child to the care of others. If your child has special needs, that decision can be even more difficult because of your child’s limitations and care needs.
Special needs camps take into consideration the specific needs of the participants. They provide a safe, fun place for kids with special needs to enjoy the same activities as their peers do at summer camp.
Camp also provides many benefits to your child. Keep reading to discover what those benefits are.
1. Trained Staff Support
Camps designed for kids with special needs should have trained support staff who understand how to care for the kids. Your child can receive the medications and therapies they need while at camp. Trained staff also know how to spot problems.
That care gives you confidence in sending your child to camp. It’s natural to worry when your child is away from home, especially when that child has special needs. But a specially trained staff gives special needs camps the advantage over regular summer camps.
The specially trained counselors should also know how to engage the kids in activities. They help boost each child’s confidence and encourage them to take risks within a safe environment. This can help your child grow significantly while at camp.
2. Time With Other Kids With Special Needs
Sending your child to a camp for kids with the same special needs helps them feel like just another kid. That can be comforting for a child who is usually different than peers. Instead of being the child who needs special adaptations or gets treated differently, your child is one of a group of kids who all have unique needs and abilities.
When kids feel more comfortable around peers with similar needs, they can relax and have fun. They don’t have to feel self-conscious about the things that make them different. They get a chance to practice social skills with those kids.
It can be challenging to make friends with kids who don’t have special needs. Those kids may look at your child as different. They may not understand your child’s behaviors or physical, cognitive, and emotional differences.
This can leave a child with special needs feeling alienated. A camp is often an ideal place for kids to make friendships with similar peers. If everyone at the camp has a special need, your child can make new friends who understand what it’s like to live with those needs.
3. Modified Activity Options
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires all camps to make reasonable accommodations so that all kids can attend. They can’t use a disability as a reason to exclude a child.
But the activities may not take your child’s special needs into consideration.
When you choose a special needs camp, your child has many different activity options designed with their needs in mind. The camps take into consideration the common physical and cognitive limitations kids may have. They modify activities to fit those limitations so that everyone can have success and enjoy camp.
Many of the activities are physical in nature, such as swimming, dancing, sports, or wheelchair races. The physical activity gives your child a health boost.
4. Independence and Confidence
Kids with special needs may have less independence than their peers. Parents may be more protective and limit what the child can do. They may make all decisions to protect the interests of the child without thinking about how that lack of independence affects the child.
Medical conditions may require lots of time in hospitals or in therapy. Kids with those conditions get used to being told what to do and following very rigid routines.
Camp gives kids a break from those routines. They may get opportunities to make their own decisions on what to do at camp.
They also get to do more things for themselves. This can give kids a boost in confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
5. Trying Something New
Camp gives your child with special needs the chance to try activities out of the ordinary. With access to modifications for recreational activities, your child can try things they might not otherwise be able to do.
Experiencing new things makes life enjoyable for your child. That break from routine doing something fun can help take your child’s mind off of treatments or limitations they sometimes feel. It also creates memories that last.
6. Skills Development
Summer camp can also help your child develop new skills. Many of those skills carry throughout your child’s life and may increase confidence.
Self-care and life skills are examples. That might include tying shoes, brushing teeth, getting dressed, or self-feeding. You may handle much of those tasks for your child, so camp is a chance for your child to develop those skills for themselves.
Themed camps let your child develop subject-specific skills and knowledge. A horseback riding camp helps campers learn about horse care and riding horses. Special needs camps provide the horseback riding experience with modifications and safety considerations for kids with limitations.
7. Break for Parents
The idea of your child being away at camp is likely scary and may make you feel anxious. You’re not sure if your child’s needs will be met properly. You worry that something might happen.
But the break can be just as beneficial for you. Caring for a child with special needs is draining. Breaks help you recharge so you’re better able to take care of your child.
When you choose a camp specifically for your child’s needs, you can feel better about taking the break. You know your child will get the necessary care and will be able to participate in activities fully.
While your child’s away at camp, you can enjoy a date night with your spouse or spend time on your hobbies and interests.
Find Special Needs Camps
Special needs camps give your child a special place to feel just like any other kid. Camps provide safe spaces where kids with special needs can meet new friends, enjoy activities, and learn new skills. Request free information to kick off your child’s summer camp experience.