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Thread: summer camp anxiety

  1. #1
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    Default summer camp anxiety

    In February, I signed Menachem up for the same summer camp as his twin brother who does not have special needs. During the school year, Menachem is in a special inclusion class for kids with aspergers tendencies and/or high functioning autism. (There are 4 ASD kids in his class and 8 "typically developing" kids in his kindergarten class this year.) We are planning to send Menachem to the same program for the following school year.

    Menachem's IEP specifies a 10-month school program, unlike the 12-month schedule that he had in pre-school. So, I figured I would try to look at summer camps as early as possible. One of the other kids in Menachem's school program is scheduled to be in the same camp this summer. The other mom thought that she wanted her kid to be in the Nursery program, but the Camp Director (who sounds very capable) said that he thinks that 6-year-olds should be with the First Grade group. The Camp Director said that if several kids with Special Needs sign up for the camp, that he would hire an extra Junior Counselor to specifically look after them in addition to the 5 counselors who will be assigned to the 25-kid group. The idea sounded good to me, especially since there were no other options, and because the camp teaches kids to swim and also involves the kids in ethnic cultural activities that Menachem does not get in his public school class.

    Now, here's my dilemna: Just yesterday, Menachem's school teacher phoned me to tell me that they were thinking of starting a summer camp, and she wanted to know if we already had plans for the summer. I know that if this option had been available a few months ago, I would have taken it instead of the regular summer camp. However, I made my decision and I really hope that it works. I so ache for Menachem to have the chance to be in a regular program, and I want him to learn to swim since he loves the water. I just hope that he doesn't fall flat on his face and lose confidence. And I'm wondering, if the school is starting the summer program, is this because they
    don't think the kids in the program are ready for a regular camp?

    Just as an aside, before I spoke with the Camp Director, the head counselor recommended that I put my child in the nursery program. I am just hoping that the Camp Director's judgment is good. I really don't want Menachem to be in a nursery program.

    Thanks for reading this.

    -Carol-

  2. #2
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    Default If you have had a similar experience...

    is there any specific advice that you might want to share regarding sending a high-functioning ASD child to a mainstream camp?

    Thanks,
    -Carol-

  3. #3
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    justLaura is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default

    Well, we aren't dealing with exactly the same situation, but one similar. Brendan has severe ADHD/impulse control issues and social issues. We are putting him in a camp that specializes in children with ADHD and Asperger's over the traditional day camp, because we did that last year (right after first grade) and even though they talked a good game, they just weren't equipped to handle him.

    When you have kids with impulse issues, especially in camps where they take the kids swimming and on trips, I found that a mainstream camp didn't do a good job in attending to him. He's the kind of kid who will sprint across a parking lot without looking, will jump into the deep end without thinking, etc. They actually lost him at the zoo last year, and put him on a one-to-one ratio after that.

    I look at summer camp as a way for him to be happy, build self-confidence and be with people who understand him. Yes, I know it's heartbreaking to have your child be different instead of taking him to the mainstream camp, but really...would he be happier with people who understood him?

    ((hugs))

    Laura

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks Laura - Those are my exact fears for this year. I'm not exactly why I'm feeling gutsy about trying the camp this summer - - probably because it's only for two months and it seems like a good opportunity for him to try a mainstream environment on a temporary basis. But I am a bit anxious about safety issues.

    Will Brendon's new camp have swim instruction?

    Thanks,
    Carol

  5. #5
    justLaura's Avatar
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    You're doing exactly what I did last year. :-) And, if we did not have such a rocky year this year, I'd probably put him back in mainstream camp again. He did like it, but I think the bigger problem was that the other kids didn't know what to make of him.

    As a compromise, I'm putting him in a one-week camp for rock climbing/swimming at our gym...I figure with one week, he can still have fun and do different things.

    We'll probably also do private swim lessons.

    Laura

  6. #6
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    Thanks. I just found out that the ASD summer program which Menachem's teacher mentioned is not definite and that it would be for only half days, so it looks like my original summer camp plans are the only option for Menachem this summer. It's encouraging to hear that your son had fun last summer, and I hope that the same will hold for Menachem in the mainstream setting.

    Your summer plans for this year sound very good, and they show how attentive and caring you are as a mom. (The rock-climbing sounds like a lot of fun!) I'll let you know how things go with us.

    -Carol-

  7. #7
    glak Guest

    Default We have almost this exact issue

    Hi there,

    DS, Tzvi, is 6 and has been diagnosed PDDNOS and very high functioning. For the past few years I have taken him to Toronto in the summer and he goes to daycamp there. I did not give the camp any info about his condition since he was only diagnosed this year (although he has been in special ed for 2 years). Last year I asked his counselors if they noticed anything odd about his behaviour and they said he is like the other 5 yo boys except that he has trouble with certain words in English (we live in Israel and speak English at home). He swims at the level of an 8 y.o. so he really had an amazing time the pool twice a day.
    This year he is going back to camp for 5 weeks. I decided not to put him with 6-7 year olds but to keep him with the 4-6 kids since his language and social skills are not at the level he can interact with 7 year olds.
    He LOVES camp. He keeps a picture of his "cabin" next to his bed and he talks about it all year. He works soo hard during the year that it is nice for him to have a total fun break in the summer.

    Galia

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