Have you just received a special needs diagnosis for your child? It is important to remember that you are not alone.
Sending a child to summer camp for the first time can make any parent nervous. But worries are often magnified for parents of kids with special needs. Images of sunlit lakes and carefree campers are often trumped by concerns about behavior, communication and physical safety. Stacy De La O, whose daughter, Fia, has high functioning autism, remembers the weeks leading up to Fia’s first overnight camp experience as a 10-year-old. “I was a wreck!” she admits. “But we prepared well, and in the end I trusted the counselors at Blue Compass to take care of her.”
Many camps offer programs to children with special needs including physical challenges, medical conditions, developmental, behavioral or learning disabilities. Whatever their mandate, and whether the camp provides shadows or support staff or requires parents to send someone familiar and experienced in working with their child, these camps have facilities that are adapted for children with special needs and medical/camp staff who are trained to work with these campers.
Start transitioning your child as soon as you can. Without a doubt, the holidays can over-stimulate neurotypicals and even more so with individuals on the spectrum. Holidays mean a long break from school. No quizzes and exams to burn the midnight oil for, no class recitation, assignments and stage performances. They get to see their family and friends - and sleep or romp all they want with nary a care about tomorrow. All these things can make transitioning from the holidays back to a regular routine more stressful and taxing to adults, teens and especially for those with autism.
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