There are so many camp choices for children with disabilities! From highly specialized camps to general inclusion programs, there are options for every child. With thorough research, you should be able to find the right camp for your child.
The American Camp Association makes it easy to find a great camp – they have an online listing of special-needs camps that is categorized by types of camps, cost, length of stay, state/region and age.
Extended School Year Services (ESY) is an alternative to summer camp. ESY is for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who need additional school days to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and prolonged periods of time off will have a negative impact on them. The summer course work is offered in accordance with the students IEP and at no cost to the parents of the child. It must also meet the standards of the State Educational Authority. ESY usually runs half a day for four weeks.
Need more help in your camp selection? Special Needs Kids Info offers an excellent list of questions to ask during your research!
“She is a tree of life for those who hold fast to her, and happy are those who support her.”
The David Posnack JCC
Offers Camp Giborim for children, teens and young adults ages 3 – 21 with developmental disabilities. They also offer seasonal camps and social/recreational programs on selected Sundays throughout the year. Giborim U is a year-round program for children, teens and adults with disabilities, offering courses in fitness, the arts, sports, recreation, life skills and health and wellness. Applicants must meet the DPJCC and Giborim U admissions requirements as determined by a completed intake process.
The JAFCO Children’s Ability Center
Serves children from birth through age 22 diagnosed with a developmental disability, including autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida or Prader-Willi. They offer therapeutic services, child enrichment services, family support, respite care, support groups and parent training. They also offer Camp Kehilla, a special needs camp for children ages 3 – 22 with developmental disabilities.
The Foundation for Jewish Camp
The mission of the Foundation for Jewish Camp is to help Jewish camps achieve their mission: to create transformative experiences—and the Jewish future. Their website has a searchable resource directory for North American camps that specialize and are inclusive of campers with special needs. For more information you can call Kate O’Brien at 646-278-4561 or contact her at Kate@jewishcamp.org.