Benefits and Impact for Campers and Families
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Benefits for Camper
Summer camps provide meaningful activities that fosters creativity, independence, confidence, leadership, and friendships. Summer camps that combine learning environments with these meaningful activities allow campers to develop necessary life-long skills. Some of the particular benefits and impact for children with intellectual and developmental delays who attend summer camps are:
Improvement in Behavior
There are noticeable changes in the behavior of children who attend summer camp. Some of these improvements include increased independence, behavior changes, and social improvements.
Attending camp can provide campers with like-minded friends who understand one another. Camp can offer them the opportunity to find people who have their similar differences and can relate to their day-to-day challenges.
Camps designed for children with developmental and intellectual disability can provide a means of learning new skills that otherwise may not have been acquired. Providing opportunities to learn and master these skills can give them a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Attending a summer camp can help attendees gain life-long friendship and develop much needed social skills. Having friends that you see year-after-year can have a significant impact on self-esteem and overall well-being.
Electronics have become a large part of the lives of many children with and without developmental delays. Camp provides an opportunity to fill space with more than just electronics.
Structured camps provide a plethora of opportunities to increase independence.
Camp provides excellent opportunities to develop problem solving and organizational skills.
Impact on Families
Summer presents unique challenges for families of individuals with differences. Research shows that therapeutic summer camps result in significant positive benefits for those families.
From seeing child participate in camp, parents report a sense of enjoyment and excitement as they see their child participate in certain activities at camp. According to a study, when the parents were unable to see their child directly participate at camp, they discussed how they enjoyed listening to their child recall their experiences.
Improved Perception of Child
As the parent/caregiver observed or received reports of activities engaged in at camp, some of their perceptions of their children’s abilities began to change.
Study shows that summer camp provides a remedy to decrease stress in families of children with exceptional needs. The reduction in stress can be attributed to a number of factors. One of the most notable factors is the alleviation of the need to find a safe and stimulating environment for their child to attend.
Increased Time for Other Activities
Summer camp helps parents/caregivers accomplish other tasks while camp provides and environment that meets the child’s specific needs. It frees them up to be able to do things they typically struggle to do like grocery shopping, running errands, and joining activities with their friends and family.
Improvement in Sleep Patterns
Some of the parents noted that they were unable to have consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule at home during the summer months because they had to devote constant care to the child with special needs. Parents reported significant improvements in sleep patterns when their children participated in summer camps.
Summer camp broadened families view and perspective about what their child could do. Parents have reported that interacting with other parents at camp helped them cope with their emotions regarding their child, which also attributed to decreased stress. One mother reported that her feelings regarding her child were validated when she was able to share some of her emotions with another mother at camp.