There are so many camp choices for children with disabilities! From highly specialized camps to general inclusion programs, there are options for every child. With thorough research, you should be able to find the right camp for your child.
The American Camp Association makes it easy to find a great camp – they have an online listing of special-needs camps that is categorized by types of camps, cost, length of stay, state/region and age.
Extended School Year Services (ESY) is an alternative to summer camp. ESY is for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who need additional school days to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and prolonged periods of time off will have a negative impact on them. The summer course work is offered in accordance with the students IEP and at no cost to the parents of the child. It must also meet the standards of the State Educational Authority. ESY usually runs half a day for four weeks.
Need more help in your camp selection? Special Needs Kids Info offers an excellent list of questions to ask during your research!
Foundation for Jewish Camp serves as an advocate and resource for nonprofit Jewish camps. Through their advanced search option, you can find information about camps throughout the country that have inclusion opportunities.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Camp Ambassador provides free, personalized guidance and scholarship opportunities to Atlanta families considering Jewish overnight camp. You can also find more information about Jewish camping online.
The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Greater Atlanta (MJCCA) has a comprehensive Inclusion Program in their day camps.
There are also a few overnight programs in the Greater Atlanta area specifically for children with disabilities.
- Camp Barney Medintz offers the Chalutzim Program for campers ages 10-20 with special needs (offered first session only).
- Camp Coleman is an inclusive setting for children with disabilities to enjoy overnight summer camp in a Jewish environment. They have a social worker on staff to help include all types of children. Camp Coleman also offers the Chadash Program, a vocational-educational program for young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, ages 18-24.
- Camp Judaea is an inclusive camp that strives to serve all children, including those with a wide range of disabilities in a mainstream setting.
- Camp Living Wonders offers a safe, loving overnight camp experience for high-functioning Jewish children, ages 7-21 years old with developmental disabilities, regardless of affiliation or background.
- Camp Ramah Darom offers a Tikvah program for children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The National Ramah Network offers other Tikvah camps for children with a variety of disabilities.
- Camp Yofi also takes place at Ramah Darom and is an award-winning, one-of-a-kind program for Jewish families with children with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of six and 13.