Children’s summer camps and wilderness programs for boys and girls in the United…

April 18, 2013

Building a Healthy, Supportive Environment for Differently-Abled Children

special-needs-summercamp-programsFamilies living with a disability face some unique challenges, but in today’s world there are many opportunities for disabled children to live full, active and exciting lives. Children experience any number of disabilities including Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Downs Syndrome, Autism and more. Families dealing with these types of illnesses often need support and education in order to create a lifestyle that promotes the overall health, wellness and personal growth of everyone involved. Parents and children can take some important steps towards creating a productive and safe atmosphere, in which this lifestyle can be built.

Step 1: Learn everything you can about your child’s disability.
It is important to have the facts when raising a differently-abled child. Reading credible information provided by medical professionals is important. It may also be beneficial to speak with other parents living with a similar illness. They can often offer valuable insight into the best ways to integrate treatments, therapies and necessary lifestyle changes.

Step 2: Find a doctor or specialist with experience that listens.
Most families have a family physician to work with, but disabled kids need more specific help from specialists as well. It is essential to find a doctor you feel communicates openly, listens and is prepared to work together for the welfare of your child. In addition, the nurses, physician assistants and administrative staff should also be made up of people you feel comfortable trusting with your child’s well being. It may require visiting more than one practice in order to make a final decision.

Step 3: Choose the right special education program or school.
Education is key when it comes to the growth of any child, but differently-abled kids need physical and intellectual stimulation to facilitate proper brain development.  Choosing a special education or school program can be a daunting task. There are many details to consider such as budget, location, daily schedule and more.  It may take time to review insurance and payment options, as well as complete application forms so be sure the process is not rushed.

Step 4:  Give kids the opportunity to attend a special needs summer camp.
One of the most exciting experiences for a child is summer camp. In the United States and Canada there are a variety of special needs summer camps to choose from that have been created for differently-abled children. Kids with a variety of disabilities can attend summer day camps or overnight camps. Special needs programs commonly have trained health and medical staff on site. These programs also special activities created to help disabled experience the outdoors, music, art, sports and more. Summer camps allow kids to explore the world while increasing independence, confidence and social skills. This is important for all children.

Step 5: Create a reliable family support network.
Reliable, trustworthy support is essential for any family having the challenge of living day to day with a disability. There is nothing more valuable than having other parents and children to share ideas, treatments and  experiences with. There are times when encouragement, inspiration and hope will come from those around you that can relate to your situation.

Families living with disabilities are some of the strongest and closest families. Being fully prepared and willing to ask for help are key to success and health.