Should kids talk about their learning and thinking differences at summer camp?


My son has ADHD and dyslexia. Should he tell people at camp about this? I don’t want the other campers to treat him differently. But I also don’t want anyone to be caught off guard if there’s a problem.


Camps are made up of two types of people: the campers and the staff members. My advice on what to say depends on which of these groups you’re talking about.

Let’s start with the staff. It’s important to let the camp know about your child’s needs and to share any strategies that help at home or at school. Share this information before camp starts. You can also talk with your child ahead of time about which adults at camp to go to for help.

Whether to talk about challenges with other campers is more complicated. It depends on your child’s comfort level. How well your child understands and can describe the challenges is a factor, too.

Ideally, your child’s first conversations with other campers will be about common interests or experiences. That can help set the stage for friendship.

But if your child struggles with certain behaviors that could affect relationships, it may help for your child to explain that to other campers. Have your child ask the camp counselor for advice first. If your child decides to tell the other kids, the counselor might want to be there for that conversation.

There are lots of ways you can prepare your child for summer camp. One key way is to remind kids that if they’re comfortable with their differences, there’s a better chance that other people will be comfortable with them too.

About the author

About the author

Jim Rein, MA has lectured on postsecondary options and summer programs for kids and young adults with learning and thinking differences.


Explore related topics