Summer Camps for Kids with ADHD and Autism: A Parent's Guide – My Spectrum Heroes
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Summer Camps for Kids with ADHD and/or Autism

Summer is a time for kids to break free from the regular school routine and dive into fun, engaging activities. For children with ADHD and autism, summer camps can offer incredible opportunities for growth, learning, and enjoyment. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of summer camps, how to prepare your child for camp, some top camps specializing in ASD and ADHD support, and essential packing tips.

Benefits of Summer Camp

  • Social Skill Building: Summer camps provide a structured environment where children can interact with their peers. This setting helps kids with autism and ADHD practice and improve their social skills, from making friends to working as part of a team.
  • Active, Healthy Outdoor Activities: Camps are packed with activities that get kids moving and exploring the great outdoors. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, or team sports, these activities help improve physical health and provide a natural outlet for energy.
  • Increased Confidence: Trying new activities and achieving small victories can significantly boost a child’s self-esteem. Summer camps offer various challenges that, once overcome, can lead to a sense of accomplishment and increased confidence.
  • A Break for Both Children and Parents: While children enjoy new experiences and make new friends, parents can take a well-deserved break. Knowing that your child is in a supportive and understanding environment allows parents to relax and recharge.

Preparing Your Child with ASD or ADHD for Summer Camp

To ensure a smooth transition to camp, preparation is key. Here are some steps to help your child get ready:

  1. Start Early: Begin discussing the idea of camp early on. Explain what camp is and what they can expect. Use simple and positive language to describe the activities and the fun they’ll have.
  2. Create Visual Schedules: Visual schedules can help children understand the daily routine at camp. Include pictures of activities, meal times, and rest periods. Reviewing the schedule regularly can help reduce anxiety about the unknown.
  3. Use Social Stories: Social stories are short descriptions of situations, events, or activities that include specific information about what to expect. Create a social story about going to camp, meeting new friends, and participating in activities to help your child feel more comfortable.

Top Summer Camps for Kids with Autism and ADHD

Here are some highly recommended camps that specialize in supporting children with ASD and ADHD:

  1. Camp Akeela

Camp Akeela offers a traditional camp experience with a focus on helping children improve their social skills and build friendships. The camp provides individualized support and a wide range of activities, from sports to arts and crafts.

802-333-4843 | www.campakeela.com

  1. SOAR

For over 35 years, SOAR camps have been empowering kids with ADHD and learning disabilities, helping them develop self-confidence, social skills, and life skills. At SOAR, campers are celebrated for their unique gifts, build lasting friendships, and enjoy the freedom to be themselves.

SOAR's expert staff and instructors create a nurturing community where every activity is designed to ensure success and growth. Campers will develop self-confidence, life skills, and make friends while embarking on thrilling adventures.

I was blown away by SOAR during their family weekend. The staff's deep understanding of ADHD and learning disabilities and their commitment to fostering self-confidence and life skills in campers is unparalleled. With its main base in Balsam, NC, and programs across the US, SOAR is a camp I wholeheartedly recommend to all parents of kids with ADHD and learning disabilities.

828-456-3435 | www.soarnc.org

  1. Talisman Camps

Since 1980, Talisman Camps have been a standout choice for children ages 6-22 with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and learning disabilities. ACA-accredited and located in beautiful Zirconia, NC, Talisman offers a structured, nurturing environment within an exciting adventure program. Campers enjoy a fun-filled summer while boosting their social skills, personal responsibility, and self-esteem. It's the perfect blend of support and adventure for a memorable summer experience!

855-588-8254 | www.talismancamps.com

More Camp Options

Looking for more summer camp options for kids with ADHD and/or autism? ADDitudeMag.com has a fantastic nationwide list of ADHD-friendly camps. Check it out here: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-guide/adhd-camps-schools.html. As well, CampResource.com offers an inclusive list of US summer camps for kids with autism here: https://www.campresource.com/summer-camps/special-needs/autism-camps

Essential Packing List for Kids with ASD and ADHD Heading to Summer Camp

Packing the right items can make a big difference in your child’s comfort and security at camp. Here are some must-have items:

  1. Comfort Items: Pack familiar items that can provide comfort, such as a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or pillow.
  2. Sensory Tools: Include sensory tools that help your child manage stress and stay calm. Items like noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and weighted blankets can be very helpful.
  3. Visual Schedules: Bring along visual schedules that outline the camp’s daily routine. This can help your child know what to expect each day.
  4. Medications and Supplements: Ensure you pack all necessary medications and supplements, along with clear instructions for camp staff. My Spectrum Heroes Multivitamin Mineral Plus is an excellent choice to support the nutritional needs of children with autism and ADHD.
  5. Clothing and Gear: Pack enough clothing for all types of weather, including rain gear, swimwear, and comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to label everything with your child’s name.
  6. Communication Tools: If your child uses any communication aids, make sure they are packed and easily accessible.
  7. Emergency Contacts and Information: Provide the camp with a list of emergency contacts, medical information, and any specific care instructions.

Summer camps can be a transformative experience for children with ADHD and autism. By preparing your child properly and choosing the right camp, you can ensure they have a fun, enriching, and supportive summer. With the right activities, guidance, and a well-packed bag, your child will be ready to enjoy all the benefits that summer camp has to offer.

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