Parents worry about their child’s safety when sending him or her off to special needs camps. They wonder about the activities that take place without their supervision. To allay these fears, Special Needs Guru introduces their benefits and explains how to choose a suitable one for a child.
Different Types of Special Needs Camps
When it comes to camps, children with special needs have as many choices as other children. Government funding and awareness of disabilities have made this possible.
There are inclusive camps that do what their name suggests – they involve special needs children in their activities. They serve non-disabled children but have those with unique needs in mind.
Some camps explicitly address the needs of the intellectually or physically challenged, including those with illnesses, behavioral problems or physical impairments.
Parents can choose from religious, non-profit, for-profit, or day camps. Some camps run weekend sessions as well.
Benefits of Special Needs Camps
There are numerous camps for special needs children; the endless choices will baffle parents. Still, sending a child to one takes effort and time. You may wonder what benefits they have.
1. Camps for special needs children offer a balance of structure and freedom. Your child will learn how to interact with others and manage himself within safe boundaries. Furthermore, structured activities encourage positive practices.
2. Special Needs Camps promote activity and exercise. They are opportunities for children to learn communication and problem-solving skills. They also stimulate movement.
3. Children get the chance to develop friendships. Maintaining healthy relationships isn’t always easy for individuals with unique needs.
4. Camps also give children an educational boost. They enable children to stay in touch with academic subjects.
5. They give parents a break. Parents get to rest while their children are away.
Looking for Suitable Camps
Parents scratch their heads trying to find a way to keep their kids gainfully occupied. Camps are aplenty, but they may not cater to a child’s unique needs. Special Needs Guru shares a few tips on how to choose the right one for your child.
1. Research different types of camps
Camps for special needs children will vary in details and activities but will have a few typical structures. You are the best person to articulate what your child’s needs are, as you know him or her best. Look for camps with programs that suit them.
If you are looking to introduce your child to a mainstream environment, you’d want a camp that has inclusive activities. They accommodate all children, regardless of their needs or abilities. They have accessible staffing models.
Other camps have specialized programs. They cater to children with specific needs, eg. Autism or dyslexia. These are useful if you want to prevent your child from regressing, especially during holiday breaks.
If your child has been experiencing a regression in his academic skills, he may need to attend a camp that hones them. You may wish to contact your child’s teacher if you want to enroll him. The teacher may be able to advise you of those that will best suit your child’s needs.
Speak with other parents with children who have unique needs. They may have signed their children up for meaningful camps and activities and can share their experiences. Therapists may be able to share their advice as well. Also, reliable camp organizers would be willing to provide references.
Spot camp organizers who are eager to understand and accommodate your child’s needs. They should be more than willing to work with your family to give your child a positive experience.
Ask about set hours and the location of the camping grounds. Find out who the camp’s counselors or facilitators are and if they’ve worked with children who have special needs. Enquire about their qualifications.
If the camp has an inclusive program, ask about their philosophy of working with children with special needs.
A concern about signing a child up for camps is how to pay for them. They can be costly. Look out for grants that will allow you to provide your child with an unforgettable experience.
5. Preparing your child for camp
Children with unique needs excel if they follow routines. Prepare your child for unexpected situations that may occur.
For instance, an Autistic child may feel overwhelmed by his new camp mates and refuse to interact with them. Give him as much exposure to unfamiliar adults and children (e.g., at supermarkets and restaurants) as you can.
Camps in Singapore
Parents who are looking for special needs camps in Singapore needn’t fret. Here are two that may fit your needs.
1. Superhero Me
Does your child have an artistic flair? You may want to consider sending him to Superhero Me.
Superhero Me is an inclusive arts movement that empowers children by harnessing their creativity. Its focus is on including underprivileged children in mainstream arts activities. One of their latest achievements is Project Infinitude, an initiative that focused on bringing classical music to children who don’t have access to it.
2. The Special People
The Special People is an organization built on the premise that every individual has his or her place in the community and society. It believes that every person has the right to live life. The differences between people serve to emphasize the variety of life. They organize camps and art jams on a regular basis.
In all, the right camp will complete the life of your child. Some meticulous research will ensure that it’s the right one for him.