Camps for Kids With Disabilities

Apr 22, 2022 | Program Spotlight

Camps for Kids With Disabilities

Every kid needs summer camp! Learn about the types of summer camps available for kids with disabilities, conditions, and other special needs.
Kid in superhero costume

Camp can be an integral part of a child’s growth, so every child should have the opportunity to experience it. Summer is often synonymous with stagnation, as kids lose focus, get bored, and lose their educational, creative, and physical momentum. This momentum is invaluable for children, especially those who have special needs, who are striving to achieve specific academic goals, trying to catch up after a setback, or trying to make the team or gain recognition among their peers.

Summer camp planning requires some special considerations for those with special needs.  Fortunately, there are plenty of summer camp options for children of all ages, learning styles, and abilities. There are thousands of summer camp sessions for students with disabilities listed on Blueprint4Summer each year. Many of them even cost less than $100!

There are two broad categories of summer camp programs for kids with disabilities.

  1. Camps Individualized programming
    Many camps accommodate children with disabilities through individualized programming. This allows children of all ability levels to share experiences together.
  2. Camps tailored to Disabled Children
    Some camps are tailored specifically for kids with a certain type of disability or need.

Let’s go over some common disabilities or special needs that children have and the types of summer camp programs that may be a good fit.

  • Down’s Syndrome – There are a good number of camp programs that are designed for children that have intellectual disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome. They provide arts and crafts programs, swimming, sports, and music, and plenty of socialization and a chance to make friends. The best way to find the best type of camps for children that have these particular special needs is by reaching out to the camp providers to find out about the summer programs that are best suited to your child.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder – There are many camps geared towards children with autism on all functioning levels that provide specific programs that will enhance their social and communication skills, as well as encourage independence. Many of these camps offer ABA (applied behavior analysis) and IBI (intensive behavioral intervention). You can learn more about these summer camps for children with autism through the local community or if your child is attending an ABA school, then you can learn through that school as well.
  • Learning Disabilities, High-Functioning Autism, ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s Syndrome – The type of summer camp that children with these particular special needs will be different from the others listed above. These children normally have normal cognitive abilities, however, they still struggle with their social and organizational skills. Summer camps for children with these issues will involve activities that will help courage to strengthen their social skills. They will also offer arts programs, sports programs, swimming, and other programs that will encourage physical activity. Some of these camps will offer academic programs as well, and your local community, as well as your local learning disability association, will have ties to these types of summer camps.
  • Physical Disabilities – There are plenty of camps for children that have physical disabilities, and these camps cater to the specific disability the child has. For instance, if the child is wheelchair-bound, then he or she will play Paralympic sports using a wheelchair. If the children don’t have limbs, then they will participate in activities that will be tailored to them. And these kids will also be able to enjoy various arts and crafts programs, in addition to music. These kids will also find the opportunity to make long-lasting friends because they will relate to one another. Your local community will have leads to specific camps that are geared toward children with physical disabilities.
  • Serious and Chronic Illnesses – There are summer camps for children and teens that have cancer or other serious chronic illnesses that will provide them with fun activities that will keep them stimulated and distracted from the treatments they are receiving. These camps offer a nurturing environment and will include a variety of programs such as arts and crafts, music, low-intensity sporting activities, and opportunities to socialize. Any children’s hospital will have leads to these particular camps.

If you are concerned about funding or financing options, then the organization or the camp will be able to provide you with financial, funding, or even scholarship options. Either way, no matter what the abilities or disabilities of your child are, there are camp options for them!

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