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By Linda Broatch, M.A. , Nancy Firchow, M.L.S.
Because they deal with large groups of kids, most camps expect a child to conform to camp structure and rules quickly and easily, so they can stay on schedule and meet group needs. This expectation can create challenging situations for a child with learning or attention problems. To avoid a situation that's frustrating for camp staff and your child, it's a good idea to ask staff lots of questions before you enroll your child in any camp. Even if you are lucky enough to have a camp available that is designed especially for kids with learning and/or attention difficulties, you'll still want to ask several questions to insure that your child's experience is safe and enjoyable. The following are suggested questions to ask camp administrators and/or staff. Those with this symbol (†) apply more to kids with learning or attention problems. Depending on whether you want to disclose your child's learning or attention difficulties, you might choose not to ask these more focused questions.
If you feel there is important information about your child that the camp application doesn't ask for, attach a brief letter to provide a more detailed picture of your child's strengths, challenges, or needs. Highlight key points so that staff can easily scan it.
Planning for summer camps can be overwhelming, especially for kids with learning or attention problems. With some research and planning, you're more likely to find camps that are a good fit for your child's needs and interests. If you're lucky, you might even be able to use the time while your child is at camp for a little rest and relaxation of your own.
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