How Summer Camps Can Impact Kids with Special Needs
by Jordan Kiefer
Developing a new interest; taking a break from the school year; creating lasting memories and friendships—for these reasons and so many more, summer camp is a meaningful experience for all kids, including those with special needs. Yet, it can be overwhelming to comb through the plethora of options for camp, so try reaching out to Helene Abrams, a Dallas mom and local advisor for Tips on Trips and Camps, a free advisory service that connects parents and kids with camps and teen programs. Abrams, who has made a career out of helping parents find the perfect camp or trip experience, helps families find overnight programs for kids ages 8-18, and is particularly passionate about helping families who have kids with special needs.
Tips on Trips and Camps provides plenty of options, varying from traditional and specialty camps to language and travel immersion. There are a multitude of activities for children including sports, arts programs, sailing, community service, outdoor adventures, cultural explorations and STEM programs, many of which are open to children and teens with special needs.
“There are many amazing camps where kids with special needs are in a safe environment where everyone understands them and trained staff are there to support them 24/7,” says Abrams. “They are in a place where they can be themselves and participate in camp activities where there are no physical or emotional barriers.They come alive!” The camps allow the children to build self-confidence, foster independence, face challenges, develop social skills and try new things. The special needs programs are equipped to work with sensory integration issues, cognitive disabilities and mild emotional disorders. There is also a high staff to camper ratio.
Dallas mom, Melanie Sacks, is so grateful for her son’s experience at summer camp. Gal, who is autistic with verbal apraxia, would begin talking about camp in January. He would do things at camp that he wouldn’t try at home. “We couldn’t believe he participated in the camp play! At camp Gal felt the freedom and independence that he wanted, and we felt he was in safe, warm environment where is was cared for,” says Sacks.
Abrams says that summer camp is a rewarding experience, especially for those who are differently-abled. She states, “Camp is not just a place to spend your summer—it’s a place where special needs kids can connect with other children their age and make lasting friendships. They are accepted for who they are.” And for any child, that makes all the difference in the world.
Editor’s Note: Tips on Trips and Camps is a FREE Advisory Service providing information on over 600 overnight summer camps, trips and programs for students ages 7 to 18+. In addition to traditional and specialty camps, the company represents programs offering student travel, language immersion, cultural exploration, outdoor adventure, community service, internships and academic study on college campuses in the US and abroad.
For more information or to reach Helene Abrams, go to
Helene@tipsontripsandcamps.com or call 214.484.8141.