Good summer camps can be very beneficial for individuals with learning disabilities.
In certain cases, there is no need for a special camp because the child's problems may be purely academic. In others, however, children may have problems with spatial orientation, motor coordination, or social skills that require special attention.
Hence, parents will need to ask questions about supervision and types of special training. Some camps provide academic tutoring as well as recreation.
In these cases, parents should ask about the general philosophy of the treatment program and individualized instruction.
The following specific questions might be asked about camps:
- What is the general philosophy of the program? What are the overall objectives (socialization, academic, other)? What approached to discipline are used?
- What is the child:adult ratio? What supervision is provided?
- What transportation services are available? Are there additional costs for special trips? Are the bus drivers licensed? Is there adequate supervision on the bus?
- Are there refunds if the child must leave camp early?
- Describe the facilities. Have they been approved by health boards and camping associations?
- Is tutoring provided? Are the teachers trained in learning disabilities?
- What health and safety provisions are available (nurses, first aid, water safety, lifesaving, etc.)?
- What opportunities for parent observations and visits are available?
- Describe the types of activities available. How much individualization is available for each child?
- What is the average length of stay for the children? What percentage return for a second year?
This information is excerpted from an article written by Doris Johnson, a pioneer in the field of learning disabilities and the JoAnn G. and Peter F. Dolle Professor Emerita in Learning Disabilities at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.