Salt Lake City schools are letting out for the summer. For many parents, this means planning summer camps and activities for their children. While this tasks is complex for many families, that is especially so for the family with a child who has special needs. Not all camps are suitable for children with disabilities. Accommodations are often necessary to keep the child engaged and safe. If your child is disabled or has other medical needs, here are a few things to consider as you are planning their summer fun activities.
Summer Camps for Children with Special Needs
When searching for camps, the Utah Office of Child Care recommends choosing a high-quality provider with trained staff. Here are some of their suggestions for what a high-quality provider should offer:
- A low child to staff ratio – if your child is in too large a group, it is difficult to know that the staff are appropriately watching out for them or accommodating for their special needs. In general, the lower the number of children each staff member is watching, the better.
- Staff who display empathy and compassion and pay close attention to the children in their care – if possible, go see the staff in action before signing your child up for camp to watch how the team engages with children and cares for them.
- Professional staff development – ask about how camp counselors are selected and trained. What criteria must they meet before being allowed to care for children?
- Licensing – check the records to see that the program is licensed and if any negative reports have been made. If so, how were they resolved?
- Accreditation – is the program accredited by a local, state or national organization such as the American Camp Association? This is not always necessary but can be an indicator of their quality assurance programs.
- Do they know how to meet your child’s needs – Are you comfortable leaving your child with special needs in their care? Do they provide proper accommodations to meet those needs? Ask for specific examples of how and what their experience level is working with children with disabilities.
What Does Your Child Want from Summer Camp?
Once you have compiled a list of high-quality summer camp providers, it’s time to narrow your selection. Ask yourself what your child wants to get out of camp and what you would like to see them get out of camp. Are they looking to learn new skills? Would you like to see them gain confidence? Could they improve proficiency in some areas? Some camps focus a lot on social interaction. Others include more planned activities and even activities that are more individually focused. Finding a camp that your child is motivated to attend makes the experience more fun and helps you to feel confident about your choice.
Home Care as a Summer Care Option
While camp is a great option for summer fun, remember that it is not the only choice. Some children with special needs feel more confident when they receive one on one support, can remain at home, close to family and familiar surroundings. Still, parents have to work, and they need reliable, safe and professional support to make the summer easier to manage while still keeping it fun. In home service providers like Salus Homecare Salt Lake City offer pediatric respite support in situations like this. Your child’s homecare worker can provide support and transportation to many fun summer activities. Meanwhile, you feel confident that your child is in the hands of a skilled and trained professional.
Summer is a fun time for families to spend time together, but making this time of year fun and engaging often includes finding activities for your child to do when you are not available. If your child has special needs, summer camp remains a great option, and pediatric in home care provides solutions too. Explore each choice to find the one that is right for your family. If we can help, let us know. Call Salus Homecare Salt Lake City anytime to learn more about our programs or schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation.