Camp Offers Advice for Parents of Children With Special Needs

The advisors at Camp Simcha Special, a camp for chronically ill children and teens, know that parents can be unsure about sending their children away for summer camp. To ease those fears, Rivkah Reichmann, the camp’s associate director, offers these tips:

1. Ask if the camp can meet the child’s health and safety needs. In other words, find out if the camp has accessible facilities for wheelchairs or walkers so that children can participate in all activities. Research the medical program as well to ensure that staff can deal with emergencies, medications, injections and the child’s unique health requirements.

2. Decide whether the chosen camp will enable the child to grow and shine. Reichmann says this is the crux of the decision between a traditional camp and one designed for children with special needs. She says that children who have to work to keep up all year might do better in a camp in which everyone is working at their pace. Children "learn to appreciate their own strengths and differences. They are no longer isolated. The 'bump' they get at camp may be enough to make a difference all year long," Reichmann says.

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About the Author

Elisha Bury is the editor of The Mobility Project. She can be reached at