A Summer of Fun for Children With ADHD
A variety of day and sleep-away camps are helping children with learning disabilities blossom like a summer flower.
Survivor: ADHD Style! continued...
Although in the past Talisman's activities focused primarily on
sports and leisure, this year they will incorporate skill strengthening,
academic-related activities into the program as well. But Tatapough says what
really sets their camp apart is a commitment to helping children recognize and
work out their behavioral problems as they occur.
"We deal with issues in a group process, and whenever there's a
problem, we sit down and discuss it right then and there -- the child learns to
take immediate responsibility for their actions, and we talk about what can be
done to change things in the future with more appropriate choices," says
Another active force: Encouraging the kids to work together
toward a common goal that benefits all of them. "If we all work together to
climb a mountain in three hours instead of six, then everyone benefits with
more free time," says Tatapough. This, she says, encourages relating to peers
and helps diminish feelings of isolation that many of these kids experience in
their normal academic setting.
A bit bolder and somewhat more daring is a sleep-away summer
program called SOAR -- Success Oriented Achievement Realized. A program for
preteens, teens, and young adults with ADHD or other learning disabilities, you
won't find any ceramics, computers, or other classroom activities here.
Instead, summer life at SOAR is pure high adventure wilderness living, along
the lines of Survivor -- at least in terms of coming face-to-face with
the unexpected almost every day. And that, say experts, is the magic of what
makes this program work.
Indeed, the philosophy behind SOAR is that children with
learning disabilities or ADHD "flourish" when allowed to focus on their
strengths in a totally new and challenging environment. And challenging they
are. While SOAR's home bases are located in Balsam, N.C., and DuBois, Wyo.,
their two- and four-week programs lead expeditions throughout the Southeast,
Florida Keys, Caribbean, Rockies, and desert Southwest, with special programs
also available in Belize, Central America. Activities include wilderness
backpacking, horse packing, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, wildlife
studies, mountaineering, scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and wilderness
Because up to 80% of all children with ADHD or other learning
disabilities are on some type of medication regimen, SOAR as well as all of the
camps previously mentioned, is staffed with psychologists, nurses, and
counselors trained in administering treatments and watching over those who are
on medication. The counselor-to-camper ratio is also quite high in nearly all
the ADHD summer programs throughout the country, thus ensuring that the
children are not only well cared for, but also that they receive the necessary
emotional support as well as physical attention.
For more information on the summer treatment programs
philosophy, visit ctadd.net/ctadd/stpmanual2.html.