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If you're looking for a summer camp experience for your child we hope that the following information is useful. A good idea is to check out camps the summer before, if possible paying a visit to the camps while they're in session.


1. American Camping Association for a list of camps serving special needs - 1-(800)-777-CAMP or (212) 674-4841. The New York Times Magazine Section & other major newspapers have a section listing camps in the back.

2. Resources for Children With Special Needs publishes A Camp Guide. Each year they hold a Camp Fair. Visitors to the Fair will receive a free copy of the Camps 2005 Guide. The Camps 2005 Guide (publication date January 2005) is also available by sending a check for $25 plus $8.00 postage and handling to Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc., Dept. PR1, 116 E. 16th St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10003, email [email protected].

Camp Fair 2006 is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2006
from 11am-3pm
Admission is free
Location: Church of St. Paul the Apostle - 405 West 59th Street
(Entrance to Fair on Columbus Avenue near West 60th Street) Manhattan

  • Meet the camp directors
  • Get a free copy of the Camp Guide 2006
  • No child care will be available but children are invited to attend

3. Referral Services:

School & Camp Placements Service
Contact: Madeline Seldon at (203) 226-1422

The Camp Connection
Contact: Lori & Norm Barrie (516) 379-4102

The Camp Experts
Contact: Marla Leader @ 516-625-9500 e-mail: [email protected]

4. Try the following sites:
www.petersons.com (Peterson's Guide)

The following are sleepaway or travel camps for children with special needs.

Camp Northwood, Remsen. NY
(up to 17 years old). Experienced staff works on building self-esteem through individualized and group camping activities while continuing educational remediation daily.
Contact: Gordon Felt at (315) 831-3621

Wongaratta Programs
Camp Northwood also runs a summer travel adventure for young people ages 15-21 in need of structured social opportunities.
Contact: Gordon Felt at (315) 831-3621

5. Camp Determination, Kansas City
Phone: (913) 588-5988 Edna A. Smith, Ph.D
Email: [email protected]
Two Sessions, June and July
This camp was started by Brenda Smith Myles and the graduate students from Kansas University in Dr. Myles program are at the camp and under her instruction. There are also a limited number of scholarships.

Session I Children/Adolescents with a diagnosis of Autism/PDD ages 8-18 who need additional assistance or one-on-one support.

Session II Children/Adolescents with High Functioning Autism or AS ages 8-18 who need less support and are independent in small group settings.

Camp Summit, Honesdale, PA
Phone: (800) 323-9908
Email: [email protected]
Summit camp is the setting in which recreational, social, and educational activities have, as a primary goal, the establishment or reinforcement of feelings of success, confidence, enthusiasm, and self-worth.

Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck-Center Moriches (all ages up to 21)
Gary Nagle, Director
Call: (516) 878-1070
8/9 day sessions. Sleep over for ages 5-14 or 15-20
in early July. Scholarships available.

Camp Ramapo, Rhinebeck, NY
Serves children with:

  • Autism and Similar Pervasive Developmental Delays
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Emotional and Behavioral Problems
  • Attention Deficit Disorder

This summer camp is ideal for youth who benefit from increased structure and supervision. The program is focused on the development of positive social and self-help skills, forming productive relationships, and having fun in a safe and well cared for environment.

There is a 1:1 camper to counselor ratio within 3 summer programs, each designed for a different age group: Early Adventures (4 to 6 years old), Summer Adventure (6 to 13 years old), and a Teen Leadership Program (14 years old and above). We enroll campers on a rolling basis and currently have openings. Fees are set on a sliding scale.

Information and applications are available at www.ramapoforchildren.org or by calling 845-876-8403. Mike Kunin, Camp Director

One week day camp experiences in June, July and August for ages 9-13 and ages 14-17.. Visit beautiful Vermont this summer and attend a fun day camp that focuses on social skills and leisure skills development for children and adolescents diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism or PDD-NOS.
Camp Maple Leaf offers opportunities for campers to expand their social skills while having fun, learning new leisure activities, and taking social risks. This productive and supportive environment is fostered by trained peer counselors and highly qualified staff who are dedicated to a kind and professional learning environment. Dr. Mooney meets with parents throughout the week to offer support and guidance and a fun activity night keeps campers busy while parents enjoy dinner and a wonderful social opportunity of their own! For details log onto:


6. Daycamps

Contact Evan Schermer at (631) 385-3342
Gersh Academy is a 6 week educational summer program geared toward children with special needs in grades K-12. We offer an academic-based summer program while maintaining a genuine camp experience.

Choosing a Camp or Summer Program for your
Special Needs Child
(Questions to ask when interviewing a director)

  1. What are the primary goals of the Camp program?
  2. How many campers and counselors are assigned per cabin?
  3. What percentage of campers and staff return?
  4. How many international counselors are on staff?
  5. What are some typical backgrounds and ages of the staff? Minimum requirements?
  6. Does the camp do criminal background checks on staff members?
  7. What is a typical day's schedule, how structured is it, and how adult directed?
  8. How would the camp approach the specific needs of my child?
  9. What types of medical services are available on the campgrounds? What type of emergency medical facilities is in the area of camp?
  10. How is medication distributed, and by whom?
  11. How competitive is the sports program? (ex. Is there a Color War?)
  12. What are some typical meals? Are there snacks? Can parents send snacks?
  13. Has the camp dealt with learning challenged children on a regular basis? What modifications are made?
  14. Is it possible to speak with the parents of children attending camp my child's age?
  15. Is academic assistance available for my child? How many campers participate in the academics program and what activities would my child miss?
  16. To whom does my child see if s/he has a problem with a counselor?
  17. Was any child sent home the previous summer and why?
  18. How does the camp deal with campers that misbehave?
  19. What type of parent/camper communication is encouraged/allowed/care packages?
  20. Are there end of the summer evaluations?
  21. What other camps might serve the same population?
  22. Are there any hidden costs? (ex. Laundry, transportation, insurance, activity fees, uniforms, etc?)

Reprinted by permission of Camp Northwood



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