Although Camp Lee Mar is not solely a camp for kids with Down Syndrome, some of our campers do have the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. We understand that a great summer camp for children with Down Syndrome is a camp that understands that Down Syndrome is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis and each child needs a tailored program to cater to their strengths and areas of need.
During the initial registration period we review each child’s I.E.P. and homebased therapies to create a summer program that can build on current goals, while providing experiences that assist in generalizing those skills that are beginning to emerge. We ask that parents not only share their child’s I.E.P. with us, but any other additional reports that they feel would assist in providing the most rounded summer goals.
We do take our campers’ educational placement into consideration when enrolling new campers. Our campers’ with Down Syndrome come from a variety of educational placements.
Some parents of children who have Down Syndrome want their child to be placed in a mainstream educational program with support regarding the academic component. Other parents know that their child’s needs require more than can be offered in an inclusive program.
Neither view is wrong, however, inclusion has been pushed to the forefront for children with Down Syndrome over the past few years, but sometimes it is just not the right fit for a child’s camp experience.
At Camp Lee Mar we think of it like this. If you had a child who had an interest in a particular sport, you would consider sending that child to a specialty sports camp. If you had a child that needed more academic support to build on their skills through the summer, you would consider sending you child to an academic based program to help them gain and retain their skills for the upcoming school year. If you have a child with Down Syndrome, even if they are in an inclusive mainstream program throughout the year, you may consider sending them to a camp for kids with Down Syndrome that can give them the opportunity to work on skills in a specialized setting that they will need for their upcoming school year. Our summer camp special needs program provides that choice.
As with all of our campers, our campers with Down syndrome have their own set of skills, abilities and talents. This means our camp program for kids with Down Syndrome focuses on individualized instruction. We assess the skills the camper already has and build on those skills. Some of the areas of need that we work on during the summer include
During the summer we focus on building the social and emotional skills our campers need to be successful during the school year. Many of our campers are in traditional inclusive school programs during the year as a result of the skills they gain in our camp for special needs children, which truly is a unique program.