Partnering With Parents

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects one in every 88 children throughout North America. There is no cure.  Photos Courtesy Of Autism Ontario Kids Camp

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects one in every 88 children throughout North America. There is no cure.

Photos Courtesy Of Autism Ontario Kids Camp

Autism Ontario Kids (AOK) Camp & Adult Summer Program (AOA) is a day camp for children, youth, and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The camp was established 26 years ago by parents whose children were not able to be supported by municipal or private day camps because the needs were too extensive. Currently, 48 clients are supported each week by 76 staff members.

A great deal of time is spent gathering information from parents before camp even begins. Through an extensive registration package and a visit with the assistant director, there are ample opportunities to pass on this knowledge related to behavior and sensory issues, so programming is ready to accommodate the most difficult of needs.

Dedicating this amount of time may be a luxury for some. And supporting campers with their own counselors is likely very rare. We provide each camper (ages 4 to 32 years) with his or her own counselor—or in some cases, two counselors. This is possible because the parents began the program with the principle that full disclosure was necessary and that no camper would be “kicked” out of camp because of behaviors. Seventy-five percent of campers would not have any other summer program to attend if it weren’t for this camp.

Incorporating Autistic Campers

Any camp can provide opportunities for this special population. First, determine which organizations in the area offer training on working with individuals with an ASD. Some camps offer free or low-cost training because there are more opportunities for this specific population. Seek out staff members at local colleges and universities who specialize in programs related to the developmental-disability field or education. Hands-on experience with this population is invaluable.

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects one in every 88 children throughout North America. Each individual is affected differently by autism, which is why it is termed the Autism Spectrum. There is no cure. The high rate of incidence means that all camps across North America will have some campers with an ASD—whether disclosed or not. So the quicker you educate yourself on how to support this population, the better it will be for everyone.

The Benefits Of Practical Programming

At AOK Camp & AOA Summer Program, campers are exposed to many community-based activities. Swimming, arts and crafts, singing camp songs, and playing games are part of this curriculum just like those of other camps across the country. Unique programming for the autism community also is included. Music

Among the typical activities at camp, Autism Ontario Kids also provides unique programming, such as sensory afternoons, where campers cover themselves in shaving cream and play in sprinklers.

Among the typical activities at camp, Autism Ontario Kids also provides unique programming, such as sensory afternoons, where campers cover themselves in shaving cream and play in sprinklers.

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