With the summer months upon us, FACT knows many families want their children to experience the fun and camaraderie of summer camp. For some, questions may arise about whether their child would be better served in a camp that tailors to children experiencing disability, or one that offers inclusion through individual support or other techniques.
You may recall our blog posting “Hip Hop and the Dignity of Risk” in which Caitlin writes, ” It’s natural to feel overprotective and err on the side of safety and segregation, leaving no opportunity for failure or disappointment. It’s natural to want your kid to be accepted and liked 100% of the time, period. It’s natural to worry. But disability is also natural. Inclusion is natural. Kids being together is natural. Looking different and having different needs is…natural!” (You can read about how she and the teacher found ways to support her daughter in the hip hop dance class.)
The first place FACT suggests you look for a camp experience is your local parks and recreation department. Questions you can ask:
- What inclusive services for children who experience disability do you provide?
- How can you accommodate my child’s particular challenge?
- Can we work together to find solutions so my child can participate to the best of their ability?
- What training does your staff receive about inclusion of people experiencing disabilities in your programming?
We encourage families to put together a one-page profile of their child showcasing their strengths and interests that can be used with Parks and Recs staff! Feel free to use one of FACT’s templates to put one together.
If you’re looking for a camp that caters to children with disabilities, there are several resources that offer detailed information about disability-specific camps across the state, including Autism Society of Oregon and KidsCamps.org. (Many offer scholarships to families, so it’s a good idea to ask if cost is a factor.) Whatever you choose, we hope that your children make magical memories and have a wonderful summer!