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Camps for Kids With Autism

Updated June 13, 2017

According to Autism Speaks, a research and advocacy organisation, an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States have autism, and approximately one in every 110 children receives an autism diagnosis. Across the country, hundreds of camps welcome kids with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs. From local day camps to residential options, parents can find the program that is right for their child.

Day Camp

Clarkston SCAMP is a five-week day camp for campers with a wide range of special needs, including autism spectrum disorders and physical disabilities. The Clarkston, Michigan camp was established more than 30 years ago. Activities for children and young adults include games, arts and crafts, music, field trips, entertainment by local performance groups, swimming, boating, hiking and fishing. The camp's extensive, year-round fundraising efforts ensure that all children can attend, even if they are unable to pay the tuition fee.

Clarkston SCAMP 6389 Clarkston Road Clarkston, MI 48346 248-620-1882 clarkstonscamp.com

Family Camp

The Common Ground Center operates on a 700-acre farm approximately 30 minutes from Burlington, Vermont. Each summer, the centre hosts Camp Kaleidoscope for kids with autism, as well as their siblings and parents. Each morning, the children self-select from numerous staff-led activities, including hiking, sports, arts and crafts and swimming. Parents choose from their own set of activities. After lunch and "quiet hour," families engage in activities together, such as nature walks, scavenger hunts, sports and crafts. After dinner, evening activities for the whole family include campfire story time, puzzles and games. The environmentally conscious camp is committed to recycling, composting and serving organic, locally grown food whenever possible.

Common Ground Center 473 Tatro Road Starksboro, VT 05487 800-430-2667 cgcvt.org

Sports Camp

Extreme Sports Camp holds residential, weeklong camps in Utah and Colorado for kids with autism. Each session is limited to 14 campers, which allows for a counsellor-camper ratio of 1:1. Campers of all fitness levels are welcome, and the camp can accommodate children with special dietary needs. During each day, kids participate in age-appropriate athletic activities such as rappelling on cliffs, water skiing, tubing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and rafting. Counsellors use "visual schedules" and "visual sports stories" to let campers know what to expect with each day's schedule and athletic activity. Campers sleep in tents or on houseboats, depending on the camp locale.

Extreme Sports Camp P.O. Box 10729 Aspen, CO 81612 970-927-3143 extremesportscamp.org

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About the Author

Larissa Kulbrick is a copywriter in Virginia. She began writing professionally in 1989 and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park. Her writing has been published in "The Professional Communicator," "Fairfax Woman" and "Staffing Success" magazine. She is co-editor of several non-fiction publications.