A listing of Summer Camps with some comments on them
Feel free to comment and add to it.
Newton city run camps: http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/parks/camps/
While all City camps are inclusive, there is particular attention being paid to fostering inclusive programs at Camp Echo Bridge, T-ville Trails and [NPS:Summer_Camps#Albermarle Acres | Albermarle Acres]
More camps from around MA. See four camp fairs listed on the right:
A camp page from the federation of children with special needs http://fcsn.org/camps/
Another list of camps, not necessarily special education based: http://www.campsourcenetwork.com/summer-camp-teen-program-events/exhibitors-nshs.php
- 1 Akeela
- 2 Aspire (formerly MGH Youthcare)
- 3 Auburndale Station
- 4 Albermarle Acres
- 5 Beaver
- 6 Brimmer and May
- 7 Camp Chickami
- 8 Centre Acres
- 9 Chestnut Hill School
- 10 EchoBridge Camp
- 11 Fessenden
- 12 FUNdamentals
- 13 FUSE
- 14 JCC - Grossman Camp
- 15 Meadowbrook
- 16 MGH Aspire
- 17 Mt Ida
- 18 New Connections
- 19 NPS Summer School
- 20 NPS pre-school summer program
- 21 NCSC
- 22 Nobles
- 23 OWL Summer Camp
- 24 Parts and Crafts
- 25 Pikati
- 26 Puddlestompers
- 27 SPACE Camp
- 28 Spotlight Program of North Eastern ARC
- 29 Summer Life
- 30 Timbertop Camp
- 31 Triumph
- 32 T-Ville
(Summer 2011) This Summer, we are going to Camp Akeela, a sleepover Aspy/NVLD camp on the New Hampshire/Vermont border. We've been to a local information session, and drove up to visit the camp last Summer, and loved it! Counselors are college or grad students majoring in special ed (occasionally regular ed looking for SPED training), PT, SLP, OT, and are heavily trained for a week before camp starts about Asperger's and the specific kids for whom they will be responsible. Kid to counselor ratio is better than 1:3. It is a smallish camp of 80 kids per 3.5 week session. They seem to really get it, and we are looking forward to our son developing some independence, confidence, and flexibility.
Camp Akeela, Thetford Center, VT (2.75 hours from Newton) on the Vermont/NH border. A sleep away Summer camp for kids with AS, NVLD (no diagnosis required, but all need social support - no NT peers) coming up on their fifth year of operation. They run two sessions of 3.5 weeks each. Run by a couple, Debbie and Eric; she's a child psychologist, he's a recreation professional. The small (about 80 kids) intimate camp is lake front (they do swimming, boating, fishing), and has a pool, a farm with animals, ropes course, mini golf, lots of sports and other traditional camp activities like skits and campfires. No explicit social instruction; this looks like a traditional summer camp just heavily staffed (1 adult for every 2 kids) with well trained adults, most of whom are college or grad students pursuing SPED related careers. New, clean cabins with properly plumbed bathrooms. 6 kid cabins have 3 counselors, 8 kid cabins have 4; they eat in a big log cabin dining hall. Counselors sleep in the cabins with the kids. My son, 11 with AS, was SO nervous about being away from family for the first time, but we felt he needed to develop the independence. After a bumpy first week - mostly over his picky eating (they had picky eater foods there, but were trying to get him to try new things) he settled in and was very successful and made several friends. Truly an ideal place for an AS child to have the NT Summer Camp experience!
Aspire (formerly MGH Youthcare)
We did Youthcare (renamed Aspire) camp at Hale Reservation last Summer (2013), and it was a surprise disaster. The Hale Reservation, for the first time last Summer, forced all the camps at Hale to have parents drive to a rendezvous point and be busses in en masse to the Camp. Aspire's location was Westwood High, where the kids waited outside and were not allowed, per Westwood High rules, to use the bathroom. Drop off was supposed to be between 8:30 and 8:45, but the bus was often late, showing up at 9. Plus, they sent most of the staff over on the bus, so there were few staff there to watch the dropped off kids, and some problems resulted. My son found the extra transition - plus not having bathroom access for the 40 minute drive to Westwood plus the 30 min wait at the High School, plus the bus ride - created tons of bathroom stress for him. Plus, when the kids arrive all at once, they all run to the bathroom at once, which is small, and there's a big line. My son, 13, was a total stress ball by the start of camp. I would not do Aspire again (he's aged out anyways) if they stay at Hale.
MGH run camp:
IMHO MGH is the best at helping kids with ASD. We never used their camp but their staff has always been great.
Comment from 2012: Don't forget MGH Youthcare, another Aspy camp with a sterling rep, which has a bus (from Newton?) to the Hale reservation (swim lessons in the lake) for a seven week woodsy program infused with social prags and highly trained staff. They can't take all comers, and applications are due in January each year. You must commit to all seven weeks, as they don't like the in/out changes - too unstable. If your Summer plans don't allow all seven weeks, try camp triumph.
Comment from 2011?
This is a six week camp held at Williams Elemenatry School in Lower Falls. It is a smaller size camp, 60-100 kids, I would say. There are approximately 10 or so students with special needs who are sent there on IEPs, which is great if you are looking for inclusion opportunities. There are a few SPED aides as well, small group social Pragmatics/Kid Connection model, and group Speech therapy weekly as specified on your kid's IEP. there are usually two off- site field trips, and weekly special all camp activiites. It is not an overwhelming or too exciting of a camp, due to the size and the lack of a variety of activities that change from week to week, and actually, somewhat boring. There is no swimming, but simple outside water play. My kid did not participate in this at all, he hated getting wet outside and having to change clothing there. The entire camp takes a walk to an ice cream shop every Thursday for some ice-cream, which is an additional cost. The down side is that the regular camp counselors are very young, not trained to facilitate social stuff, and in general lack SPED training! The communication between camp director and parents, and camp inclusion facilitator and parents need improvement.
Comments from 2008: ABERMARLE ACRES: A traditional camp run at the Mason Rice school next to Abermarle fields for seven weeks, which means more sports than SPACE, but still arts and crafts too. Recent reports from parents indicate that the person in charge is not ASD friendly, and we are warned to choose other options. They had the kids all together in the gym at the start of the day, which was loud, unstructured chaos that set the ASD kids on edge.
Note: the sites of the Newton camps can change based on construction/renovations being done on school buildings. Recently Albermarle Acres, was at Horace Mann, which is next to the Albemarle fields and Gath pool, not at Mason-Rice.
Comments from 2008: Beaver Day Camp: located in the SE corner of Newton, this traditional day camp has been run by a former SPED teacher, and is especially SPED friendly. They have three swimming pools, tennis courts, and a lovely facility. Kids are divided into groups by age (often within three months of each other) and each group stays together with their staff all day, moving from activitiy to activity (like going to the art room where the art teacher has a specific project for them to do.) Swimming lessons and free swim time daily. Not air conditioned, at least when my NT kids were there. Head counselors almost always licensed teachers ass't by college and high school students. My NT kids had a tough time with some SPED kids who bit, punched, screamed and pulled hair, who were not managed well enough to make the NT kids feel safe. I hope they are doing better now, but they are always SPED friendly, and have lots of us there.
Comment from 2009-2010 summers: My two children attended Beaver for two summers. The younger kids camp was very unstructured and staff seemed very inexperienced. I was called several times during the day to pick up my child with PDD, although when we signed up we fully disclosed his issues. It seemed as if they accept sped kids, but do not manage them well. There were many children with out of control behavior which was not handled by the staff very well.
Comments from summer 2010 and before: My son,who has Pdd..has been very successful at Beaver since the age of 4 and is now 8. He is on the mild side, but the camp was always a great confidence booster for him. I feel they were very supportive of his needs when he was younger and now he knows the routine and still loves it there.
Brimmer and May
Comments from 2008: Brimmer and May School, Chestnut Hill: a tiny school with a tiny pool. Another traditional camp, but its so small that makes it nice for ASD kids. Near Chestnut Hill Mall.
It didn't work out for us in 2013. They asked for a full time aide but we weren't sure why and couldn't find or afford one. So our time at Chickami is done. Kind of a sad end after many good years for three kids.
My son had a great time at Chickami again this year (2012). Some days were harder than other but they consistently stayed in touch and he had a lot of fun. He bonded well with the counselors and kids (he really likes the chanting and singing together). When he needed an accomodation (e.g. help finding a seat on the bus or opting out of competitive games like relivio) they were very nice about it. We look forward to going back again next year!
A note to all of you about something that happened at Camp Chickami (2011)
We're all in agreement that Chickami can be a tricky camp for our kids, there's a lot of choices, a lot of competitive games, and a lot of changes, so it's certainly not for every family. But we had one experience in particular that will absolutely send us back next year.
The girls in my daughter's age group were invited for an overnight, with an option for parents to pick up at 9 PM if the overnight aspect wasn't a good idea for whatever reason. The evening had games, a scavenger hunt, pizza, a movie, and swimming. Our daughter was pining to go, was doing her best to reason, cajole, beg, anything she could muster. But it would mean that our daughter would navigate all of those activities unsupported, because the aide assigned to her for the summer only stays until the end of the regular camp day. So we were saying no way, it's too big of a leap, and we didn't want her to be trapped for hours past her usual end-of-day routine in a situation that was beyond what she could manage.
But she really really REALLY wanted to go. So after a lot of debate and agonizing, I called the camp, explained our particular situation, and asked if I could come and help out for the evening, and be our daughter's support.
The director for the younger girls (after gushing about how much she and the other counselors loved our daughter and what a great summer she was having) reasoned it through on the phone, that having a parent there might confuse some of the kids, and might make it harder for her to feel like one of the crowd. So she asked me if she could call me back, then spent 20 minutes conferring with our daughter's counselor, JCs and aide, and they came up with a plan where a familiar JC would be a substitute aide for the evening, enabling our kiddo to take breaks, but also encouraging her to participate. If our daughter got overwhelmed and needed more support, the JC was to take her to her head counselor, ostensibly so our daughter could "help" her with her station for the evening, giving her a sense of belonging but also a break. The JC went over a game plan with the aide so she'd know what language to use to help things along, she stayed with our kiddo the entire evening, and at the end *She Wrote A Log Page*(!!!!) about our child's evening for us (and sent it home with the regular log from the aide), which was more insightful and thorough than anything I ever got from the aide we had in Kindergarten. Our daughter had the time of her life, and she got to have the experience of having really stretched herself and feel successful about it. The director for the younger girls checked in with her several times to make sure everything was going well, and when we came for pickup she introduced herself and wanted us to know that she was really proud of our daughter.
When we came at the 9 pm pickup, my kid looked at me and said "Mommy, I feel two things. Tired, and deliriously happy."
As you can imagine, I sent in an enormous batch of cookies to that director (which made a whole lot of counselors happy), but it was an inadequate gesture compared to how profoundly grateful I was to the Chickami staff for their insight, professionalism, and devotion to making the full camp experience accessible for our kid.
At any rate, when you're thinking about camp for next summer, I hope you'll keep this endorsement in mind.
My son went to this camp in 2007 (age 7 at the time) and really liked it. He had some support from an aide at the time but we didn't really interact with them. He had one hard day (90+ heat) but overall he liked it. GS.
Comments from 2008: Newton YMCA, Camp Chickame: They run buses to the campsite in Wayland - an outdoor day camp with daily swimming in a pool. Long relationship with Newton SPED dept. Low prices. Newton YMCA, other camps: they also have camp at the Y facility.
Comment based on summer 2010:
For our family it's an issue of goodness of fit over cost, which is why a few years ago when our team debated the various merits of one of the city camps vs. Chickami we pushed hard for Chickami. We were lucky in that we had a choice, that we could choose to push for (and pay for) the private camp plus supports option, and I realize that not every family is in the same position, and even if they were, not every family would want their child at a private camp anyway.
For us, we wanted Chickami because we would have a shared aide, some Kid
Connections (though not enough, if you ask me), swimming twice a day (which is a
critical sensory input that helps to regulate our child's mood), and an
opportunity to practice social skills with NT peers as well as an opportunity to
practice behavioral strategies as she attempts physical and competition-oriented
challenges that test her anxiety levels. It also offered a variety of activities
on the schedule, it isn't a specialty camp, it's an all-around camp, with art,
and nature, and sports, all kinds of activities, so our child wouldn't get stuck
in one mode and one mood if the activity wasn't working out for her. We asked
our child's aide to help support our child particularly through chaotic and
unstructured periods, and we had a very open line of communication with that
aide and with the IF, and we had a good summer last year, the best we had had
ever, including the years when we were at the preschool and the years of private camps whose well-meaning
directors asserted at the beginning of the summer that they were prepared to
support our child and then we discovered - to our child's detriment - that they
could not give her what she needed. They didn't help her interact socially, they
didn't prevent her from being bullied, and they were inexplicably helpless to
help her self-regulate when she had a meltdown. I can't speak for every family,
but the choice of Chickami was a fit that - at least last year - was just right
for our child. She was ready for the challenges of that particular setting and
she had supports to prevent her from losing ground. It just worked for us, but
it wouldn't be the best fit for every kid, on the spectrum or not.
Comments on summer 2011:
Our 11 year old son had a great time at Chickami this year, 4 weeks in August. He had ups and downs as expected but they were very good about giving him space and letting him opt out when he wanted.
One great thing they do is chant together and sing together in the morning and throughout the day. I think that is very valuable for making a visceral (audible?) connection to help the kids feel part of a group. Maybe a lesson for school, like sayng the pledge of allegiance together in the morninng.
When I met his counselor at the end to say thank you, I was surprised at how young he is. No special training, no master degree in SPED or anything like that. He just made a really nice connection and instinctively knew what to say to help our son feel good about himself. The hardest part was that it set a high expectation for school and makes me wonder why school is so hard and camp is not...
Comments from 2008: CENTRE ACRES: Same sort of camp as Abermarle, but located at (I think) Mason Rice or another Newton Centre school. Better run, more SPED friendly. Seven weeks.
Looks like a City Camp:
Chestnut Hill School
Comments from 2008: Chestnut Hill School, Chestnut Hill: Has a pool and daily swim lessons, but not as good a swim program as Beaver due to less pool space. Is air conditioned, and has an arts bent, plus some science - more indoor oriented though of course they go outside each day. This is a choice camp, where kids put together their own schedule each week, meaning they are with different kids each period - not a good setup for making friends or being part of a team, but a well=loved program that sells out every Summer.
Additional notes for 2013: The camp will be held at Zervas this year instead of Mason-Rice because Mason-Rice will [hopefully] be undergoing some override-funded renovations. Campers will still make trips to Crystal Lake almost daily (provided the lake is swimmable), but will travel by bus instead of walking. Also, the Zervas-based camp is 6 weeks and there is a 7th week available for the older kids that is a sleep-away camp in western Mass.
Comments from 2012: ECHO BRIDGE: Mark is still running the camp and continues to be responsive and caring about SPED needs and requests. Our aide was a shared camp counselor who was really great with our daughter. Still no concrete connection (that we are aware of) between camp activities and IEP goals and objectives. The counselors were excellent (high school and college students and assistant teachers from the regular school year) and took very good care of the campers. Field trips on Fridays, daily swimming at Crystal Lake, arts and crafts, playground activities, and a very nice on-stage end of summer musical play that all the kids participated in. I highly recommend ECHO BRIDGE for SPED kids that do not require intensive behavioral support or rigid specialized instruction and can benefit from a safe and caring atmosphere full of fun and social opportunities with typical kids.
Comments from 2011: ECHO BRIDGE: This camp is well staffed and the director (Mark) is very responsive to SPED needs and requests and will make every effort to provide what he can. The camp does not directly provide specialized instruction or therapy. SPED aides and therapists are provided by NPS not the camp. The aide provided by NPS paid very little attention to IEP goals and objectives. Very little if any structured work on behavior, language, writing or learning goals. The speech therapist was great. The IF that covered the camp was very inexperienced and did not give any attention (that we are aware of) to our child's daily schedule, goals and objectives, or progress. However, the camp was fun and comfortable, the counselors were high school and college students that worked well with the kids, and our child did very well just getting in the mix of the fun social activities, arts and crafts, weekly field trip, and daily swimming at Crystal Lake. I would recommend the camp for SPED kids that do not require intensive behavioral support or rigid specialized instruction and can benefit from a safe and fun atmosphere full of basic social opportunities and play with typical kids.
Comments from 2008: ECHO BRIDGE: This is a SPED camp run by the City that also takes NT peers, so SPED is a priority here. It was originally created to include children with physical disabilities though, and I've heard that the staff is unclear on how to support children who have social/emotional disabilities like ours. Have also heard good things. It is located at Mason Rice school. They walk to Crystal Lake for swimming monday through thursday. Seven weeks.
Day camp: http://www.fessenden.org/podium/default.aspx?t=127829
All summer programs: http://www.fessenden.org/summer
Comments from 2008: Fessenden Day Camp: Fessenden is a boys school by the Ed Center, with gorgeous athletic facilities, including an ice rink, huge heated pool and multiple gyms. Coed in Summer, very well run, SPED friendly. More of an emphasis on sports than arts/crafts, but has both. Kids are in the same group the whole time; head counselor usually a licensed teacher. One of my NT kids went there for years and loved it.
Comments from 2008: FUNdamentals Camp. I recall I heard good things about this, but recall no details.
(comment posted in March 2013) FUSE Summer Camp in Lexington, designed especially for kids with high functioning autism, NVLD/NLD, ADHD...anyone with social challenges.
Ages 3-11. ALL about making social connections, all the time! Curriculum based on RDI, Michelle Garcia Winner, MGH Aspire!'s "Think Smart Feel Good" and other best practices. (Dot Lucci from MGH Aspire is part of the program.)
Small, carefully matched groups of no more than 5-7 kids with at least two teachers per group. All head teachers are Master's in SPED or equivalent; all aides highly trained.
(comment posted in 2011): FUSE Program, Lexington MA: The newly formed team of Dr. Karen Levine and Dr. Lauren Weeks, both well regarded child psychologists specializing in ASD, have fused their approaches together. I've used Dr. Weeks for 7 years, and she is excellent, and we've seen amazing progress. This Summer, 2011, FUSE started a small summer camp in their offices- morning sessions for preschool, afternoons for early elementary. Next year they will expand to a larger facility. While I didn't use this new program because my child is too old, I know the practitioners well, and this was very high quality social skills therapy in small groups (might also be covered by insurance...) Certainly worth a look by parents of young children.
JCC - Grossman Camp
Comments from 2008:
Jewish Community Center: The JCC runs several camp programs, open to Jews and non-Jews alike. The JCC is very SPED supportive in all its programs (in my experience does a better job than the Y.)
Comment based on summer 2008 or 2009 (I forget):
My child went here and liked it better than the Y as well. Same location (Hale Reservation) but a different part and different lake. The line was shorter at the water fountain on hot days which was a plus :-) GS
Comments based on summer 2012:
My son (age 5) went for 4 weeks, in a typical bunk. There is a special needs bunk that has mixed ages, but my son was not in it. He loved some of the activities, like rides in the golf cart, the shows in the amphitheater, and sessions on nature and Jewish culture. He also really liked showing off the camp at visiting nights. He has a hard time with sports, and could have used more support in things like climbing wall and t-ball. I didn't make much of an effort last summer to reach out to the special needs coordinator, but I will this summer if he goes again to see if they can give him extra support for some of the activities - or maybe he should be in the special needs group where there is a 3-to-1 ratio, I think.
Comments from about 2 - 3 years from 2010 to 2012:
At Grossman we discovered how great it was for him (he was in the SPED bunk). He made real friends there, challenged himself with a lot of support to do things like the rock wall, swimming in water over his head, etc. He did not have to participate in activities which are clearly wrong for him (wrestling) and he had all the support he needs.
Toward the end of his six weeks during the last two summers they have allowed him to transition to a typical bunk for periods of time during the day and they provided a counselor for him as an aide so he could have a more integrated experience. However this was only after they had gotten a good sense of what he could do and what he couldn't and what he needed support for etc. And they assigned him a counselor who knew him well already.
Comments from 2008: Meadowbrook Day Camp, in Weston near the Newton border (near Marriot Hotel.) Extremely well=run, inclusive traditional day camp with pool, own pond for boating, tennis courts, multiple gyms. My ASD son has been there for two Summers. Stay with same single sex group all day (about 17 kids). Head counselor always a licensed teacher - his was a SPED teacher last year, assisted by 3-4 other adults/teens. A counselor included a college student with CP in a wheelchair; another group had a counselor who was a cancer survivor missing part of her face. NPS sends an aide, and IF support weekly. We love it. Because the neighbors require the camp to offer free bus service, it is one of the most expensive camps.
Second parent - we send our HF child to Meadowbrook. I did extensive research for private camps in the area. Before we put our deposit down, the director met with me and my child, and assessed my child. My child did not need his own aide, and can function in the group (maybe slower in some areas), but nothing that the typical group leader (who is always an adult, and from our past experience, a teacher and parent), a college aged junior leader, and a high school CIT. We have been very pleased with the prgram. Very structured which works well with my child. My child has learned to swim (big focus on that), and he also loves the bus. He also does after care camp. I haven't met a counsellor I haven't liked. Very impressed with the program.
The camp is at the school, so on rainy days there is PLENTY to do inside, and on hot days, there is A/C inside. Not all activities are inside, but enough. I would say a 50/50 split. Lots of different activities - swim, soccer, dance, music, science, leathercraft, ropes, ceramics. Over Days!
Comments from 2008: Mt. Ida Camp at Mt. Ida College, south side of Newton: cheaper than most private camps, I found this huge camp less well run than most - had a verbally problematic counselor, which would never happen at other camps. Kids stay in the same groups all day.
August 1 - 26, 2011
Camp New Connections in Belmont, MA is a day camp geared toward children and teens (7-17) diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorder and other issues impairing social functioning. Our camp is designed to help children develop social skills through fun activities, such as drama, arts and crafts, communication games, swimming and field trips. The camp is accredited by the American Camp Association and is a good match for children who can benefit from structure, small groups and individual attention.
NPS Summer School
NPS pre-school summer program
Camp was held at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street, which looks and feels very much like a school. During the summer of 2010, preschool hours were M-Th only, no camp on Fridays, and it ran for six weeks only. There was one sub seperate room for students with full time 1:1 BT's. There were two other integrated classrooms with 15-18 students in each. Class sizes changed weekly as enrollment changed. Staff was very nice, organized, and responsive to parents. A few students had shared aides. Specialized services were inconsistant, many times SLP or OT was not provided since many of the NPS specialists did not work through the entire summer. The activities included writing and drawing, arts and crafts, swimming at the Gath pool once a week, group games, and time out on the playground. The preschool staff is very good working with special needs kids and they are made to feel welcome and a part of the group. Our sped child enjoyed the preschool camp very much.
This camp was closed after summer 2011.
Comments from 2008: Newton Community Service Center, West Newton: This social service agency in
Newton runs buses from its office to the Hale Reservation for a nature day camp.
Sweet staff, very low prices, swim lessons in the lake at Hale. My NT kids went
Comments from 2007-2009 My kids all (NT and otherwise) enjoyed this camp. Not very structured or as well staffed as some others but lot's of outdoors time. Update: Now that my kids are older, they report that it was actually a much tougher camp than I realized. They say that they had to fend for themselves a lot.
Comments from 2008: Noble's Day Camp at Noble's and Greenough School, Dedham: Gorgeous athletic facilities, traditional camp with athletics emphasis. Boating on the Charles. My NT kids went a couple years - was a tad competitive for my non-athletes. See website for details.
OWL Summer Camp
Parts and Crafts
Comments from summer 2013. This was a very interesting place. Not really appropriate for ASD kids or kids who have sensory challenges. It's a small room in Somerville but they use a space across the street and a park outside. The crafts and building things is a lot of fun for kids. They also have a very hands off, let kids do what they want approach. One thing that was not so good is that they let the kids play sword fights with padded sticks as a default activity when nothing else is going on. No one gets hurt but it's hard for some kids to play without getting upset. Overall very nice people and excellent activities but probably not a good fit for kids with ASD.
Summer 2011 and 2012 (Auburndale Cove location). We had a good experience at Puddlestompers the last two years. (My son was 4 and then 5.) The ratios were a great draw, typically 4:1 with eight kids in the class on average. The lead counselor was typically a kindergarten teacher and the assistant was usually a college student or teacher's aide. A cool nature-y, science-y camp. Takes ages 3-6, but the average age at this location from what I saw is 4.
The big drawback, however, is that because it's an enroll-by-the-week camp, the counselors and kids can change week-to-week. Had I realized this from the get-go I may not have sent him, but it worked out well. Every once in a while, two years after the fact, my son will spit out a fact about owls or something he learned about at Puddlestompers. Kinda cool!
AKA Summer Program for Academic and Creative Encounters
Comments written Spring 2013:
My son, now 11 has attended SPACE camp for two summers and loves it. He is not an outdoor guy, and has bad allergies so the mostly indoor format works well. In the upper camp, the kids can choose from electives including academic subjects, but also lots of arts and crafts like woodworking, ceramics, inventor's lab, anime illustration, jewelry making, drama and cabaret singing. There are sports electives like soccer, tennis and swimming too. My son attended with an aide, and there is a full time IF at the camp. Overall we had a great experience.
Comments from 2008: SPACE CAMP: Summer Program for Arts and Creative Endeavors. This is the only City program run by NPS and not the Newton Parks n Rec Dept. They take sign ups from the public around April. Your inclusion facilitator should reserve your space long before that. The program supports SPED, but is a regular ed program. It takes place at Day Middle School, which abuts the Abermarle fields and Gath Pool. Due to overcrowding at Gath, younger campers are bussed to Crystal Lake two afternoons per week, where in previous Summers, the kids were only allowed to wade and not swim because of safety concerns. It is a popular optoin for ASD kids because it is so familiar and similar to regular school, since it takes place in a school building, and has a similarly structured day. Camp structure for younger kids differs from that of the older kids, so be sure to get advice on this from a parent of someone in your child's age group. There is some sports, of course, but also music and art. A downside is that it runs only four weeks. Some ASD kids then transfer to another City camp, but transitions for our crowd are not good. My son attended this for first grade, and it was not a good experience (though many ASD kids love SPACE.) Over half the kids and all the boys were on the spectrum, so the room was both crowde with aides, and when my son made appropriate overatures, he did not get an appropriate response. The first 1.5 hours of the day was "teacher choice" where they put out some games and art projects, and the kids did their own unstructured thing. Not good. Also, the NT kids seemed to all leave at noon, at which time the two first grade classes were combined, as well as some staff changes. Again, other ASD parents report a better experience than mine.
Spotlight Program of North Eastern ARC
Comments on summer 2012:
Here is what he did:
1. Some reading and math in am
2. Speech 30 min
3. Every Friday is a field trip.
4. Go in community trips in Newton such as library, restaurant for lunch, went to grocery store on Mondays to purchase lunch items for the week. Each student prepared his lunch each day.
5. Certain afternoons 2x week went to Gath pool.
Did projects like make a tie died t shirt and make rock candy. Small time on academics and more about life skills/ summer camp. Biggest criticism was they made their own curriculum and did not follow the reading and math Goals and curriculum used during the academic year. On a high note, my son loved it and had a great time, just not much accomplished in academic goals.
The overnight summer camp of The Hampshire School in New Hampshire : http://www.hampshirecountryschool.org/Timbertop%20Camp.html
This was a great camp for our 13 year old son in 2013. Made a big difference after a very hard end of school year. They are very patient and understanding and they have a lot of experience with ASD and ADD and kids with all kinds of challenges.
Camp Triumph, Bedford MA (30 min from Newton) private 766 SPED camp for the AS crowd, run by the Triumph Center (formerly the Academy North, no relation to the Academy for Social etc. in Newton.) This is a group of psychologists from Reading MA who run social skills groups all year, and run a heavily social supported traditional day camp in three locations in the Summers. There are no NT peers. My AS son, then age 10, attended in the Summer of 2010, and we had an excellent experience. While NT camps could be isolating for him, Triumph was a comfortable, happy place. The activities were tailored to appeal to the AS crowd - more board games, less art, hiking, trips to a local water area - and my son was relaxed and happy. Most telling was his lack of social regression over the Summer, and his best ever reentry into the School year in September. I was concerned about the lack of NT peers, but it was FINE. The kids 12 and under were, like my son, very typically appearing; you couldn't tell by looking or talking to them that they had issues. The teens, however, flapped a bit, and were less high functioning. My son had no clue he was at a SPED camp; at that point, he had no idea he was a SPED kid. There is no explicit social instruction, just tons of appropriate social support from people who understood his needs. Oh - and I got my town to pay for it (had to threaten to sue.)
Attended Camp Triumph in Bedford last summer (2010?) - an Aspy camp run by the Triumph Center (formerly the Academy North) in Reading - Bedford is the closest to Newton of their three locations. Triumph is a social prags/ASD treatment center, so their camp staff all had a deep understanding of ASD. It was a traditional camp schedule, but with the needs of ASD kids in mind, and was a very easy, stress free, pleasant summer for my high functioning child. I had been worried about sending him to a camp with no NT peers, but the trade off for a program all about his needs was worth it. They take a wide range of ages, up through 17. In the younger ages, up to say, 11 or 12, there were lots of other high functioning kids. The two older groups were less high functioning. The facility was a rented public school - a real beauty, as nice as Newton north but smaller. Four days per week they were bused to a nearby pond for afternoon swimming. Google Camp Triumph in Bedford for more information. Once you sign up for a minimum of consecutive weeks (two?) you can add extra weeks around your vacation plans.
Comment on 2010 summer: Last year my son (between K and first grade) went to T-Ville. I think it was good for him but there was one thing that was very hard for him, and I don't know if it is unique to him (probably not) or unique to T-Ville (probably not) and that was Mondays, especially the mornings.
Since many of the kids register on a weekly basis, every week there were some new kids and some familiar faces missing. He hated that change. And to make matter worse, they wanted everyone on those days to have name tags which he can't stand (after few weeks I just veto name tags). After each Monday, the rest of the week was much better.
Also, a constant issue was the water drinking. Everyday I'll tell them to make sure he drinks during the day, and everyday checking his water bottle to see how much was left.
This year, finishing first grade, he will be again at T-Ville.
Comment re: summer 2013
They are now accepting kids up to 5th grade. I've heard lot's of good things about this camp. Gregorio 17:43, 12 June 2013 (UTC)