Summer Camps for Teenagers with ADHD

Whether your child is going to a traditional school or to a therapeutic boarding school for teens with ADHD, summer break is always a challenge. Teens who are stuck at home sans the schoolwork often turn to the internet and video games to fill their time. Unfortunately, this only succeeds to alienate them further from the outside world, making it more difficult to tear them away from their computer and video games. It’s not a surprise that teens with ADHD who stayed home during summer break often find it hard to socialize with classmates when classes start again.

One option that parents can consider is sending their children to summer camps for teenagers with ADHD.

What can you expect in therapeutic summer camps?

For people who are not yet acquainted with therapeutic summer camps for teenagers with ADHD, this kind of camp specializes in helping teens with ADHD develop a healthier self-esteem, learn how to resolve conflicts, work with other people and a lot more. Activities are designed specifically to help ADHD teens confront the issues that they commonly face in life in an environment that encourages physical activity.

Therapeutic summer camps vary widely depending on the kind of facilities and programs that they have. A lot of them will have facilities for activities like hiking, canoeing, horse riding, rafting, swimming and more. The physical activity aspect of the program is very important since teens with ADHD are often more able to control the symptoms of their condition if a healthy mix of physical activity is integrated into their daily routine.

How different is therapeutic summer camp from boot camp?

While therapeutic camps and boot camps were both created to help troubled teens, their methods are very different. Boot camps are more physically and mentally challenging. They apply military-style techniques to help teens overcome their personal challenges.

Therapeutic summer camps on the other hand use a more nurturing approach.

How are activities different in a therapeutic summer camp for teenagers with ADHD?

While physical activities are part of the daily regimen, campers are not forced beyond their physical capabilities. Activities are geared more towards encouraging cooperation between other campers, developing good communication and social skills, journal writing (a very beneficial exercise for both teens and parents), counseling, and finishing up chores in the camp grounds in order to learn responsibility and interdependence.

These activities are done with the backdrop of a very beautiful natural setting of lakes, mountains and the likes. The environment plays a huge role in encouraging teens to do some self-examination and reflection.

What things should you consider before sending your teen to therapeutic summer camp?

  • Find an accredited therapeutic summer camp – Summer camps accredited by the American Camp Association should follow guidelines, rules, and requirements which will be beneficial for your child.
  • How do they handle difficult teens? – Ask about the policies that they have for certain situations such as when teens act out and become disruptive. How do they handle teens that being more troublesome than others?
  • Ask for references – Ask for references from parents that have children who go to camp there. Take this one step further and actually call these references up to ask them about how they find the camp and whether they have any complaints about it.
  • Ask about contingency plans and how they handle emergencies – Of course the safety of your child comes first. Ask if there is a doctor within the camp premises? What kind of medical facilities do they have? Is the place easily reachable by ambulances in case of emergencies? Is there a counselor available on a 24-hour basis on the camp?
  • Ask about the activities that they have – Of course, it’s important to find something that your child will actually enjoy. Get a list of all the activities available in the camp and check to see if the list is something that would be exciting for your child.

Deciding on going to summer camps are often something both teens and parents can agree on. It allows parents to take a much needed break. Teens generally like the idea of spending time away from home to do something fun. Should your teen be averse to the idea of going to therapeutic summer camp, you may want to introduce the idea to him/her in a different way. You can even visit the camp with your teen in order to help him/her warm up to the idea.

Extremely shy teens and those who are so socially inept that they fear being surrounded by kids they don’t know need a little more help. They need help understanding what therapeutic summer camps are all about.