January is the season to choose a summer camp, and parents of children with ADHD face special challenges in finding an ADHD camp or ADHD summer treatment program that's right for their child.
Some ADHD programs are traditional camps that emphasize learning appropriate behavior and social skills. Others are summer treatment programs at university medical centers, geared for children with learning, emotional, or behavior problems. These programs are often modeled after treatment practices designed by William Pelham, a research psychologist at the State University of New York—Buffalo. Here's how to find a great ADHD summer program:
1. Get good advice. Ask for recommendations from your pediatrician and local CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) support group.
2. Use the Web. Visit the American Camp Association's website and cast a net for accredited camps in your area for kids with ADHD. MySummerCamps.com and other camp sites allow ADHD-specific camp searches.
3. Find out how the camp handles ADHD-specific issues. Jar Lampard, a health information leader at CHADD's National Resource Center on ADHD, suggests asking how the camp will help your child manage ADHD. Is there a medical professional, such as a nurse, on staff to administer medications? Is there a behavior plan or a coping strategy to deal with behavior issues? Does their procedure include a parent phone call? If it's a therapeutic program, what is their treatment model?
4 . Don't discount locals. Targeted programs for ADHD might not be a tailored fit for your child. Consider contacting local private and public schools to see if they offer summer programs for kids with learning disabilities.