- Mental Health
Specialized ADHD summer camps offer outdoor activities, educational enrichment, and counselling especially designed to meet the needs of children and teenagers with ADHD. ADHD camps can offer many benefits to children and teens with ADHD:
Because many ADHD children and teens struggle in school, educational enrichment in the summertime is a great way to help them retain skills from the previous grade and be prepared for the beginning of school in August. ADHD camps offer specialized instruction designed to help children and teens with ADHD develop better study skills as well as keeping their skills honed.
Physical activity helps kids and teens with ADHD wear off extra energy, and also helps improve concentration and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. ADHD camps offer plenty of opportunities for safe, healthy exercise in a supervised environment.
Studies have shown that spending time in natural settings can significantly reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Among other benefits, nature therapy improves concentration and relaxation skills and relieves stress. (For a detailed summary of the science of nature therapy please visit ADHD Alternative Treatments: Nature Therapy.) ADHD camps offer outdoor activities in safe, supervised natural settings that combine the benefits of nature therapy with those of physical exertion.
Because children and teens with ADHD are more prone to stress, anxiety, aggression, and depression, and are often at higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse and even suicide in later life, counselling can help them learn to deal with their feelings in positive ways. ADHD camps offer trained counsellors and often have psychologists and/or psychiatrists on staff.
ADHD camps offer a positive and supportive environment for children and teens with ADHD, an environment where they can feel comfortable truly being themselves. Instead of being "the ADHD kid," they are one of many. The simple feeling of not being alone or "different" any more is often enough to spark dramatic improvements in mood and feelings of self-worth.
Peace of Mind
For parents, ADHD camps offer the peace of mind of knowing that your child is in the hands of trained professionals - true counselors who won't snap at a child for jiggling the table at dinner, or forget to give him his medication.
The Learning Camp
Choosing a Camp
A few important things to consider when choosing a summer camp for an ADHD child or teenager:
- Is the camp accredited? (Check with the American Camp Association)
- Does the camp have at least one trained nurse or other medical professional on staff to administer medications?
- Do the counselors and staff have special training?
- What is the ration of campers to staff? (Lower is better.)
When choosing a camp, it is a good idea to allow the child or teen to participate in the decision, and to look for a child that offers enrichment activities of interest to the prospective camper. These might include activities such as hiking, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, swimming, sports, and more.
Most ADHD camps don't accept children and teenagers with serious behavioral problems, substance abuse problems, or serious physical or mental disabilties. However, there are some specialty ADHD camps that do help children with one or more of these extra concerns.