Summer camp/summer school

8 Types of Summer Camps That Can Be Good for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

By The Understood Team

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Whatever your child’s interests, strengths and needs are, it’s important to find a camp that’s a good match. The American Camp Association’s website lets you search for specific types of programs. That includes camps for kids with learning and attention issues. Here are eight great options to consider.

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Middle school age camper on a climbing wall
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Camps That Build Outdoor Skills

Does your child love adventure and testing physical limits? Camps that offer outdoor adventures, from hiking to rafting to wilderness camping, can help kids discover strengths they never knew they had. Adventure camps can also help build confidence. Some of these camps specialize in serving kids with ADHD or learning issues.

Group of children working on an art activity outside
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Camps for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

There are many camps that specialize in helping kids with learning and attention issues. Most offer a mix of typical camp activities plus instruction in specific areas. Some camps focus on a single issue such as dyslexia. Other camps cover a range of issues. These may include learning issues as well as behavioral differences such as ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.

Close-up of a young summer camp student examining a bug jar
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Camps That Build Specific Interests

Struggling students may not always love school. But if they have a passion for specific activities like drama, sports or science, there are specialized camps where they can pursue what they love doing most. Programs like these offer some great benefits. Kids get to build skills in an area they enjoy. They get to spend time with peers who share similar interests. And they get to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.

Group of children and camp counselor sitting in circle talking outdoors
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Camps That Work On Social Skills

If your child has trouble making friends and fitting in, you might want to look into camps that specialize in social skills issues. These camps are usually geared toward kids with certain learning and attention issues. That includes ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilities and language processing issues. Kids enjoy typical camp activities. But they also spend structured time working on social skills.

Group of summer campers walking by a lake
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Camps That Stress Inclusion

Your child doesn’t have to go to a camp for kids with learning and attention issues to feel accepted for his differences. In fact, some general camps make inclusion their particular focus. Many Quaker camps have a theme of tolerance and self-growth, for instance. And there are camps without religious ties that are known for celebrating diversity and differences.

Supervisor and teen campers working together on a community garden
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Camps That Focus On Service Learning

Many kids with learning and attention issues are used to getting help. But it can be a boost to their self-esteem to be able to give help. Service programs can build kids’ sense of self-worth and accomplishment in the “real world.” Plus, everybody is learning new skills at the same time.

Three young girls practicing archery at summer camp
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Day Camps

There are as many types of day camps as there are of sleepaway camps—if not more. There are programs that focus on community service, sports, arts and outdoor adventure. And there are day camps that help with learning and attention issues.

Group of children hiking in the woods looking for insects
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General Camps With Small Group Sizes

If you and your child are looking for a traditional day or sleepaway camp, you may want to find one that has small group sizes. A smaller environment may make it easier for your child to form friendships and stay focused. Plus, he may have more supervision.

Want to search for camps by location and specific features? The American Camp Association is a good resource. GreatSchools lists some helpful directories of camps for learning and attention issues. You may also want to ask the camps some key questions such as whether the counselors have experience with kids who have learning and attention issues.

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About the Author

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The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

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Portrait of Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham, Ed.M., serves as advisor-in-residence on learning and attention issues for Understood.

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