Dear ADDitude

Dear ADDitude: Is an ADHD Camp Worth It?

“My 14-year-old son is entering high school next year and doesn’t have many friends thanks to his ADHD, anxiety, and immaturity. I thought that camp would help him build some life and social skills. Any recommendations?”

ADDitude Answers

SOAR NC is phenomenal! We attended their parents weekend a couple years ago and were so very impressed with their staff and their program. My son is only 12 and hasn’t been up for 3 weeks away from home yet (anxiety), but he loved the parents weekend and wants to go when he’s a teen.

Here is a guide to ADHD summer camps and schools.

And I would also recommend these articles:
ADHD Summer Camp: Choosing the Best Program for Your Child

The Best Camps for Children with ADHD

ADHD Summer Programs That Build Skills and Confidence

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

A Reader Answers

My son is 16 years old. He has ADHD & anxiety as well. He has been to SOAR the past 4 years he absolutely loves it. In his words, “Everyone is like me and no one makes fun of me for being unique!” The meals are shopped for and made by the campers. My son is approx 3 years behind in maturity, although very bright. He, too, lack social skills.

He first attended the California camp, as it was the shortest in duration. He loves water so that camp was a good first experience. He then attended the North Carolina canoe expedition. Last year, he did the Whitewater Intensive.

Posted by Kimnmi

A Reader Answers

Hi, we live in Illinois and send our son to North Star Camp for Boys in Hayward, WI. Though it’s not specifically for ADHD kids, there are many there. My son met a kid that had the same doctor, which was pretty funny and made my son feel better.

They dispense meds using a service called Camp Meds – very reputable – (the pills come in daily packets and their names are on them, w/ MD etc – that’s how my son knew his friend had the same doc) There is a doctor onsite and nurses, of course. They are amazing, and the camp director Andy Schlensky has won many awards. I highly recommend it – my son goes for 8 weeks, but they have two 4-week sessions.

This has been so instrumental in my son’s ability to be independent, plus they are totally unplugged – nothing with a screen is allowed at camp, and you can’t even email your kid – all snail mail. To me, this is the most valuable part of the camp: NO electronics. For two months a year, my son has to actually read an actual book. Not to mention there is something for everyone – so many top notch activities including horseback riding. Let me know if anyone has any questions.

Posted by Melanie1

A Reader Answers

We sent our son to a SOAR camp at the end of 4th grade. He had a great time and still talks about some of the things he did. He did have some social issues but the staff was wonderful and gave me a report at the end of the trip. I felt bad as it rained everyday but that was just part of the adventure.

Posted by knrdodd

A Reader Answers

The Salvation Army offers many affordable summer camps, some divided by age/sex and others by interest (music, sports, scouting). Most are about a week long. The staff are usually very helpful and willing to accommodate ADHD quirks. My son has severe (but now greatly improved) difficulties and this will be his 7th year.

Posted by StarlaDWC