Camp For Special Needs Children – What our campers wish you knew!
Please don’t yell when you speak to me.
My learning differences do not impair my hearing. Please be patient with me and give me a little extra time to process what you said to me. Sometimes using less words in your instructions or conversations can help me as well.
Please do not ignore me, talk negatively about me, or ask questions to others about me in my presence.
I can understand what you are saying, please talk to me. When you take the time to talk to me, and not about me, it makes me feel valued as a person.
Please believe in me and help me believe in myself, my skills and my abilities.
Believe in me, and I will believe in myself. I need you to talk with me about the things I am good at so I have the confidence to try new things.
Please don’t perceive me as less.
I may not learn the same way as you, and I may not learn as quickly as you, but I am trying. Have patience with me and work with me, you will be amazed at what I can accomplish.
Sometimes my behavior is a form of communication, please try not to judge me.
Sometimes I cannot think of the right words to say when I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated so my communication becomes behaviors. Please help me to regain control, help me find a quiet place to regroup and try again. Crowded rooms, loud noises, or situations that feel out of my control, can be very scary for me. When I am scared I cannot always find my words or communicate my feelings.
Please don’t yell at me, put me in timeout, or tell me “no” without explanation.
If I do something wrong don’t assume I know how to fix it. Please let me know what I have done is not acceptable, but use it as a teaching tool to teach me the socially correct way to respond next time. Sometimes I might laugh if someone gets hurt, teach me to ask if they are okay. Sometimes I might run away and hide if I am overwhelmed, teach me to request a break. I need you to support me, not show disappointment in me when I don’t react the way you think I should. Use these times as teaching moments and support me.
Please don’t compare me to others.
Please remind me of my talents and strengths, it helps me to feel confident. Comparing me to other children makes me feel insecure, I need to know you value me for who I am.
Please include me in all activities.
Please invite me to play with you, to go to the movies or to your birthday party. I can be a great friend if you take the time to get to know me.
Please give me choices.
If you give me choices, I know you value my capabilities and options. This also allows me some control over the situation. For instance, you can ask me to choose between two T-shirts or two of my favorite snacks. You will also be teaching me that my opinion matters and improving my ability to make choices.
Please know that I am not just my diagnosis.
I am an individual, please take time to get to know me. We will both benefit greatly if you do.
Written by Lynsey Trohoske
My name is Lynsey Trohoske, I am the assistant director at Camp Lee Mar. I have three amazing children, my middle child happens to be on the autism spectrum and is a camper at Lee Mar. I joined camp as a counselor in 1998 and loved the campers and their families so much that Camp Lee Mar became my second home!