Finding the Right Camp for A First-Timer

With spring comes the challenge of planning for summer. If you’ve got a first-time camper, it’s time to begin thinking about what your child needs to have a successful summer experience. While you may not have to put down the deposit for another month or so, it’s a good idea to begin asking questions that are unique to some campers with LD and ADHD.

For example, some kids with learning issues differ from their peers in overall maturity and in their ability to follow instructions, handle competition, interact with other kids, and cope with difficult situations. Some struggle with the transition from school to camp and from teacher/parent authority to counselors. Other young campers become anxious about meeting expectations of counselors, specialists, division heads, and other campers.

To ease your child into a summer of fun, begin by taking a look at our Summer Camp Guidelines for Kids with LD & ADHD. These are helpful general guidelines that apply to all ages. But for young kids (elementary-school age), and first-time campers, there are special considerations to keep in mind as you search for a venue that will suit your child best:

  • Can the camp accommodate your child’s specific safety needs, e.g. adaptive sports, specialized swim instruction, etc.?
  • If your child takes medication, can she assume responsibility for taking it or must she be supervised by staff?
  • How does the camp deal with separation anxiety and homesickness?
  • How does the camp work with children who have difficulty expressing their emotions or needs, children who process slowly, and children who need extra attention?
  • What individualized attention is given to children who need help with hygiene, dressing, following directions, understanding boundaries, limiting impulsivity, etc.?
  • Is alternative programming available for children who are unable to perform certain activities or anxious about attempting them?
  • In overnight camps, what is the bedtime routine and how accessible are night duty counselors?

The goal is to find a setting in which your child will thrive, and you can rest easy knowing he’s safe and having the time of his life! With proper planning, the right match can be a restorative, liberating respite from the daily school grind the rest of the year.

Related Smart Kids Topics