Your child’s teacher, Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and other parents are a great source of information and ideas for summer camp options. In addition, local park and /or recreation departments may have weekly programs that offer inclusive activities for children. Some may have programs designed for children with special needs.
You also can call local chapters of major disability organizations about camps in your area. Many organizations publish lists of camps and can connect you with camp directors and former campers.
You might have a special-needs camp fair in your area. SPED Child and Teen Special Needs Camp 2017 lists upcoming camp fairs.
Summer Fun Camp Directory
Federation For Children with Special Needs
Provides a links to over 200 camp web sites serving children with disabilities.
ACA Accredited Camps
The American Camp Association is the national accrediting organization for camps. ACA provides information for campers with and without special needs.
On-line Camp Search Engines and Resource
In addition to Searching for camps on Disabilityinfo.org, the following offer searchable camp websites:
- inclusive February vacation activities and camps
- lists camps by region
- lists camp fairs
Well maintained site allowing searching by geographic area and by program type. Select “Special Needs Camps” category. Ages: children and adolescents. Various disabilities. Day- and overnight-camps listed.
Comprehensive directory and guide of summer camps for kids and teens with “special needs camps”.
Summer camp directory with “Special Needs” category.
Free Referral Services
Free referral service that matches child’s needs with appropriate summer programs [overnight camps, day camps, teen trips, community service programs, specialty programs, programs for children with special needs (specifically ADD, ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilities, asperger’s, pervasive disability and mild intellectual disability), specialized therapeutic programs, Jewish cultural camps and conventional camps]. Serves ages seven to eighteen years of age.
Possible Financial Assistance Option
Helpful Tips on Finding a Camper Scholarship (Autism Speaks)(PDF)
Many disability specific organizations like Asperger’s Association of New England, local autism support centers, United Cerebral Palsy, and Easter Seals may be able to provide some funding for its summer programs
Find out if your child qualifies for an extended-school year (ESY). An Individual Education Program (IEP) that includes summer goals may qualify for summer programming. For additional information about special education extended school year program go to Massachusetts Department of Education.
- If you can prove that your child will be working on the skills outlined in his/her IEP at the summer program, the school
district may pay for it. Talk to the school administrator early in the IEP process if you will be asking for school district
to cover some of your child’s summer program.
You can help fund your child’s camp experience by applying for a scholarship. It is best to do so from December – March, because the money is depleted by April or May.
Fraternal Organizations. There are charitable organizations called fraternal organizations that can also provide assistance.
Most of these organizations send the scholarship money to the camp in the child’s name.
Fact Sheet last updated on: 1/9/2017