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My Teen Wants to go to Summer Camp

7 blog avatar 1 Great Summer Activities For Teens
Expert Name:  Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Title: MSW, LSW
Company Name:  Step By Step Inc.
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
Short Bio: Cindy is a clinical administrative associate with Step By Step Inc.

Her responsibilities include designing research studies, protocols and evaluation tools, data collection and analysis and writing and editing grants and reports. Cindy is a member of the National Psychology Honor Society and a licensed social worker. She holds an MSW in Social Work Administration from Ohio State University, a BS in Psychology from Wright State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.

My Teen Wants to go to Summer Camp
Everyone (well, most everyone) has fond memories of summer camp when they were children and teens.  Summer camps are a great way to make friends, get outdoors, learn a new activity or hobby or two and have something to do for a few weeks out of the summer.  They also can be a hot mess of bug bites, homesickness, and misery.  So, what if your teen with an autism spectrum disorder decides he or she would like to go to summer camp?  Here are a few tips to help with the process:
• First of all, congratulate your teen!  This is a huge step in the direction of independence and a great way to practice being away from home in a supportive environment!
• Decide whether your teen would do best in a camp that caters to teens with special needs or a camp for typical teens.  I know it’s tough, but try to put your desires as a parent aside for this and try to really think about where your teen would thrive.  Each of these types of camps have their pros and cons, so this will require a lot of planning.
• Does your teen have a special interest that a summer camp may cater to?  There are summer horse camps, theatre camps, chess camps, IT camps, college prep camps, art camps, etc.  The number is practically endless!  Finding a camp that is all about your teens special interest could be like a dream come true for him or her!  Take the extra time and look for those types of camps if your teen is wanting that type of experience.
• Make a troubleshooting guide with your teen.  Try to think of the types of issues that may come up during a stay at camp and create a plan about what to do for each with your teen.  Then, send the plan with him or her to prepare for the unexpected.  So, if something unexpected happens, your teen will have a guide about what to do.  Also, include important phone numbers in this.
• Visit the camp ahead of time if possible.  If it is an overnight camp, take pictures of where the teen will be sleeping and staying.  For all types of camp, if you can, take pictures of important places at the camp- the bathrooms, the place where people will be eating, and some of the staff members if possible.  Then, create a magazine or comic style social story for the teen to read and get used to before going off to camp.  It might also be a good idea to get a copy of the rules or a handbook so you and your teen can review it before going to camp.
These are just a few tips to help your teen if he or she decides to take the summer camp challenge.  Careful planning ahead of time can make the summer camp experience a memorable one for your teen!
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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
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