Tips for Sending your Child with ADHD to Summer Camp
Over the last 40 years we have helped many parents find peace and even enjoyment in sending their son or daughter away to summer camp. This may seem like a small deal to most parents but our camp is special, we only serve campers diagnosed with ADHD and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). It is a more difficult decision to trust a camp to truly understand and know how to care for your child if they have experienced the opposite in other settings.
From years in the field, and specifically working withkids with ADHD and autism, we offer these four tips to ease you into sending your child to camp:
1) Anxiety is Normal – Before heading to camp every child is anxious, in fact, a lot of parents start to question whether camp is the right place for their child based off of their child’s experience of “pre-camp jitters.” You can use this opportunity to teach them a great coping skill for managing their anxiety. Ask them how they feel now and help them write a pros and cons list before camp as well as a list of their fears. You can address their concerns and allow them to be heard as they head into this amazing experience, utilizing the camp admissions person to address the reality of the fears they have listed. We encourage parents to SAVE this list so they can then go over it after their positive summer experience at camp. Your camper may laugh at some of their fears were and feel proud of how easily they were able to overcome them.
2) Packing list – Who needs all this stuff?!?!- Every summer we hear from parents “Why do they need all these things?” Some kids use 50% of what they bring for camp; others use all of it and then some. Either way, you want to make sure they are set up for success and are ready for adventure. We developed the packing list over many years of camp.
3) Connecting with home – For most parents, the limited communication camp presents is the first time they have gone so long without contact with their child, well, since they were born! This is natural, but also SUPER important to creating a strong, independent teenager. You can be honest and prepare your child for the experience; we often find that after the first 24-28 hours, campers forget to write home and have very little time to focus on their families. They are there to have fun, and once they get involved in camp life, they begin to focus on making friends, having fun, and creating new adventures! Don’t worry, we keep you updated on everything they are doing and how they are managing through calls, emails, and hundreds of great photos! We also encourage our campers to write home often.
4) “I’m worried my child won’t make any friends.”- In running an ADHD and autism camp, we hear this one a lot. Parents are worried about other campers and staff not “getting” their child. Talisman Summer Camp was built for this; we are focused on helping teach social skills to ADHD and ASD campers. Our staff are thoroughly trained and qualified to ensure your son or daughter has a great summer. A camp focused on ADHD and ASD campers means everyone knows what is like to have social challenges back home and, in return, are more accepting and inclusive than in potentially any other environment your child has been in.
Overall, camp can be a great experience for your camper and for you! If you are looking at Talisman Programs, or just sending your child to a day camp for the summer, we hope these tips help you realize that every parent struggles with sending their child away for the summer.
If you have any questions about our program, please call us at 828-697-6313. If you were just looking for a little advice on how to navigate the pre-summer camp jitters, we hope this has helped. Summer can be a great time for your child and a great time for you to get a little peace and quiet, while they make new friends and amazing memories at camp.