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Option #3: Camp Mom

Summer Camp Options for Children With Special Needs


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Pick a few friends to join your child in a do-it-yourself day camp. (Image by Terri Mauro)

Sometimes, the best way to get the job done right is to do it yourself. Start a do-it-yourself Camp Mom at home, and you can tailor the experience precisely to your child's needs, and hand-pick the fellow campers. Consider the pros and cons of this type of camp, then compare to other options like special-needs camp and mainstream camp in the community.

Pros of Camp Mom:

  • Lots of one-on-one time with parents can be very beneficial to special-needs kids, especially after a hard year of school.
  • Family activities can offer specific, appropriate, accessible enrichment opportunities.
  • No worries about your child being placed under the care of untrained people who don't know him or her or understand his or her needs.
  • If you've ever thought about homeschooling your child, this is a good opportunity to start trying some teaching techniques and see how he or she responds.
Cons of Camp Mom:
  • No time off for you.
  • Limited peer interactions for your child.
  • Togetherness is good, but too much togetherness can be bad.
  • The cost of buying supplies and going on trips to museums and movies can add up, over the summer, to more than the cost of a community-based camp.
Questions to Ask Yourself about Camp Mom:
  • Would my child benefit more from relaxed, low-pressure time at home, or a more structured routine that's closer to his everyday school experience?
  • How much do I need time away from my child to recharge my batteries and be a patient, vigilant, loving parent?
  • Do I have a plan for these summer days, or will my child just wind up vegging out in front of the TV?
  • Would a mix of camp and home time be better than an entire summer of either?
Next Steps:

Option #1: Special-Needs Camp
Option #2: Mainstream Camp in the Community

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