If Your Child Has Trouble Making Friends
Kids who have trouble making and keeping friends will do well at a camp that seeks to develop social skills.
Parents should advise the camp director and counselors to set one or two goals for the summer: scheduling a play date with another camper or managing anger. Many behaviors of special-needs kids are off-putting to non-ADD children. If a camp allows the child to work on his problems in a safe setting, he can learn and grow.
Laura Davies, of Cleveland, Ohio, knows what could happen if the setting’s not right. Her son, David, had a “horrible experience” at a day camp a few years ago.
“Since David was doing well at school, I decided to send him to the camp that the neighborhood kids go to,” she says. “What I didn’t take into account was that the camp was run by teenagers who had little interest in a kid who was, at times, difficult.”
David was kicked out of the camp after a week. “Had I been honest with myself about David’s symptoms, I would have known that the camp wasn’t the right fit for him,” says Davies. The next summer, David did well in a mainstream camp, thanks to an aide who monitored David’s behavior.
Rosenblatt encourages parents of special-needs kids to talk with the camp about enlisting an aide. (This service often costs extra.) “A child may be told that the aide is there to help the whole group, not just him,” Rosenblatt says. “Having someone keeping an eye out for a child may guarantee that the camp experience will be a success.”