CONVERSATION ON SUMMER CAMPS
The SWF Yahoo Group had some great responses to a question about Summer camps for SWS patients. Check it out!
Donna in the Greater Chicago Area
We have a special recreation program in our community. It provides recreation programs for all areas of disabilities, Pre-School to Adult. They also provide assistants to support programs through our regular Parks/Rec services.
Both programs have medical forms and create a seizure plan (often modeling after what we use at school). Through these programs, our son has taken a Young Athletes (precursor to Special Olympics) which offered lots of sports activities and a couple of sports skills/practice program through Hot Shots. This summer he participated in both regular t-ball and Special Needs Buddy Baseball. This fall he participated in recreational regular league soccer through AYSO. They allowed him to wear his orthotic hand and leg brace. He has also taken adapted swim lessons through YMCA and the Special Rec program.
As far as camps, he has participated in many! We started with 1/2 days to test the waters, then moved to full days and haven't looked back. Again, we've been able to access both special needs and regular ed programs. Both have been very accommodating to all of his medical and physical needs. Once I started asking, the world opened up to us.
If you have an Adapted P.E. teacher in your school, you might start by asking him/her or just start making phone calls.
Alex in Massachusetts
My daughter attends some programs at our local Y. I love them! My little nugget is also 6, and while I'm guilty of being a "helicopter" mom sitting on the sidelines of her various activities, she is so involved and having so much fun, she doesn't even notice.
I have always spoken to the program director about her SWS prior to signing her up: they have always been very attentive and responsive. I also find it helpful to keep a signed copy of the seizure action plan on hand so I can provide it to them at registration giving them some time to become acclimated themselves along with their team prior to the start date. Again, I love the Y. She has been going to swim lessons since she was 3 and recently started basketball with them as well!
As far as camps go; she has only participated in the summer and extended day programs through her school (however in the process of looking into the Y for this summer). We moved this past summer and started at a new school. I was very nervous because our last school had been so incredibly accommodating. After speaking with the Principal about my concerns, he scheduled a meeting with himself, the school nurse and the head of the extended day program. They ended up bringing on a full time aid for here during the extended day and vacation programs. I believe alot of schools offer some kind of summer program, it may be worth the conversation!
Keren in Israel
My daughter has gone to the camp at the local Y. The camp has a mix of teachers and younger counselors. At the time, she was in preschool at the Y and we were both familiar with the facility and teachers. They also did a lot of indoor activities, which I felt was good. They will be very careful about the pool. Now my daughter goes to camp at her school, which seems to be very good.
Larry in Michigan
I agree with all that Donna suggested. Another thing that you might want to look into is scouts. Our son participated actively in Tiger, Cub and Boy Scout programs and loved it. It taught him many life skills as well. With the right scout master, he achieved Eagle rank in his final year. They allow you until your 20th birthday to complete. Also many of the merit badge counselors at summer camp (who are equipped to handle disabilities) offer special accommodations to allow the scout to achieve their badges in the more physically demanding areas.