For those of you who send your difficult child's to camp I have some questions. Is it a camp for difficult child's? Do you meet the staff prior? Do they give medication? Aren't you worried that difficult child will alienate themself by having a meltdown? Are you afraid they will run off?

I would love for difficult child to experience camp. But worried about so many things. What do you look for? I was just looking into the YMCA camp.

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My difficult child goes to day camp. It is a camp set up through the school and community recreation department. In their form they ask if your child has any special needs. On the form I explained his needs. One being that he really needs an adult on the bus to sit with near or next to him. He also needs to be allowed breaks, no yelling voices etc...

They are so wonderful. They also called to discuss what he would need and what works best for him.

He goes to camp and has minimal problems. One reason is because they know about him and talk to their staff on how to deal with him. They also give medications. You have to fill out a form and so does his doctor.


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We're trying day camp for a week this year. In our case, we have to let them know about Duckie's allergies and the epipen. The camp I chose is an art camp through a local museum so she gets plenty of inside and outside time. They encouraged me to pack snacks since she has a history of food allergy. I also made sure Duckie would know at least one other child there so her anxiety level wouldn't be too bad (Her excitement over spending time with her friend will most likely overcome her potential anxiety).
On that note, I'm going to move this thread over to General. Please look for responses there. :smile:


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Our 14 year old was registered for a 21 day Outward Bound camp (very close to home just in case) - they very extensively screened her and knew all about her various hospitalizations and medications. It sounded like it would have worked out great, but she tried to overdose in May, so we cancelled the registration.

Remember to always get cancellation info - travel insurance whenever possible - but read the fine print - most exclude mental health issues.

In the future, however, I may look into Intercept - an Outward Bound program for troubled teens:


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In the past, M was stable enough to attend the local YMCA camp (though he would come home and complain they had too many rules LOL) and the year before that he attended the school's reading camp. But, this year was our very unstable year and now that he's been placed in a theraputic school, he's attending a Summer Program offered by the theraputic school (and our SD is paying for it, which ROCKS!).

Prior to his placement, we were given information for two difficult child-specific was given to us by the school SW and was I believe a 1 week sleepover camp on a very limited admission basis and the other was given to us by the psychiatric hospital which from the sounds of it was sort of more like a Day Program offered by a local Behavioral group, but you could probably get insurance coverage for it.


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Yes, our difficult child attends "regular" day camps... usually put on through his school, or I'll find a sports camp nearby.
Last yr he went to overnight Cub Scout camp where they slept in elevated tents outside and he hated it! He's definitely a city boy. :grin:
This yr he's in a dorm room at a nearby university and he's signed up for sports classes... it's an All Arts & Science camp and "regular" kids can sign up for any two classes, anything from math to forensics to ceramics to theater. Because there's A/C he'll like this better, but I can guarantee he'll have a total meltdown the day he comes home because of all the stress. He can keep himself together for a few days but it gets to him.
They have nurses on staff and are supposed to admin. medications. as directed.
We'll find out in a few days... :eek:


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All 3 of my children go to the YMCA summer camp, the entire summer. No, they are not really trained to deal with "special needs" kids. They way the YMCA camp works here is, if you get written up 3 times you're out.

I do not know if they make special exceptions to that rule, or if that rule is consistent with every camp. I do know, the counselors where my children go are not trained specifically in anything other than CPR and swimming. So, for example, if your child has seizures, I don't know that the counselors would have a clue.

I would probably suggest if your child cannot maintain on a daily basis (i.e. raging, tantruming, etc) that you find someone to go along with to camp. Like a TSS or an aide or something of that nature.

I do know there were a couple of "I don't wanna do that" kids in with my children that do not go anymore. I don't know if they were kicked out or the parent's took them out or what, but they're not there now.

Truthfully, it's easy for 2 of my 3. For Dylan, it's hard, because inside he's an "I don't wanna do that" kid, too, but he is able to maintain on his own, at least for now. He has already been written up once (shutting down) ~

Although personally, I think the whole experience is good for all my kids. I don't want them sitting in front of the TV through the summer.


difficult child is like your Dylan. Shuts down. Doesn't want to do it, and the more they try to talk to him the more he shuts down.


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Seb is attending a "natural science day camp" at a local nature preserve. The kids basically hike all day and learn about nature and the environment as well as local ecosystems. They cach frogs, spy water snakes, hike over hill and dale and other outdoors-y type of fun.

I picked this camp because 1. Seb loves science / nature / animals and 2. It is not a competitive camp. In Seb's case the non-competitive aspect is key because physical competition scenarios set him off.

I don't want to jinx myself, but so far, so good. I'm most concerned about his peer relations and things have been smooth thus far. The camp knows of Seb's ADHD diagnosis and his medication but they don't know about all the other possible-maybes that we are pondering.

Seb reports to me every day and is proud that he has not had any confrontations-- cross fingers that it lasts. He says that he doesn't particularly like any of the other kids but he doesn't dislike them either. That's good enough for me. All it takes is one person to chap his hide and he becomes the Evil Seb. He just says that he thinks they are a little dull and not very serious about learning anything (my ever negative, arrogant, misanthrope, malcontent).

I don't know what sets off your difficult child, but I think that we moms of difficult children need to be especially careful when it comes to selecting activities. As I said, in our case the choice not to put Seb in a competitive situation was deliberate. You already know what activities don't work. Somehow I think nature camps like this are good (genericallly) for difficult children.


Both difficult children have gone to a week of church camp for the past 7 years. The director now knows the boys very well, his wife is the camp nurse & deals with all the medications. I give the director a heads-up each year, reminding him what works best with each boy in terms of behavior control & any new concerns compared to previous years.

Others are correct that the counselors are not trained to deal with special needs kids but this director works with his counselors & puts my kids with the counselor he thinks will best be able to handle my kid.

I've had only 1 email from the director regarding difficult child 1's behavior in all that time. He's actually there this week and so far so good.



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we send easy child and difficult child to Boys and Girls CLub day camp. THey take field trips every day so they are kept busy and on their toes. THey also attend the Boys & Girls club after-school, so the director there is very familiar with difficult child's behaviors and is very tolerant of him. THey also have formed a bond, so that helps too.
For the month of July though, difficult child is doing extended school year at his therapeutic day school. Its pretty cool because they do the academics in the morning and field trips in the afternoon. He did receive 2 warnings the first day and 1 today, but cross your fingers!