Here’s a great way for you to have some much needed alone adult time …. CAMP!
You want to send your child to camp so they have the opportunity to be with other kids, learn how to build relationships, and develop the skills to problem solve without a doctor, teacher, or their parent around (you know = the cocoon). It builds their confidence and independence while getting them some physical, mental, and emotional exercise.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all camps make reasonable accommodations so kids with special needs can attend. This being said, there are many types of camps your child can participate in. Some camps are mainstreamed (or inclusionary) so they are filled with mostly “average” kids and will need to adapt their activities for your child. Some camps are made specifically for special needs children, either by taking many different diagnoses or by focusing on specific issues (hearing and speech, sight, epilepsy, learning or behavioral, chronic illnesses, etc…). You may also see camps just for girls or just for boys.
Camps fall into many different categories. There are non-profits, for-profits, religious, private, national organizations, day camps, weekend camps, and sleepovers (for a week, month, or all summer). You will need to make a list of goals, health priorities, and outside considerations that will limit which camps are right for you and your child.
Be sure to involve your child in this decision! Ask them what they are looking for in a camp.
When researching for camps, check out the American Camp Association (ACA) at www.acacamps.org. Under Quick Links click on “Find a Camp”, then “Advance Search”, to see comparables like cost, camper’s ages, region, activities, length of stay, etc… I would speak to the camp directors about your child and any accommodations that would need to be made, as well as speaking to other parents whose children have attended the camp. Your child may want to speak to the other campers, who may have a different opinion than their parents on how great the camp really is. If you have a question, never hesitate to ask the staff or other parents!!
If cost is an issue, look into applying for scholarships to help pay for the camp admission. You can ask charities and fraternal organizations who sponsor special needs camps. There may even be some state funds available.
Can’t highly recommend camps more! It’s such a fabulous way to give both you and your child a break from the everyday doldrums.