The American Camp Association estimates that over 10 million children attend one of the nation’s 12,000 camps each year. Research supports positive outcomes of camp such as adventure and exploration, friendships with peers and adults, reduced summer learning loss, increased physical activity, opportunities for play and imagination, engagement and leadership opportunities.
Studies show that including children with ASD into settings where they can learn and interact with their peers is beneficial and leads to positive social relationships. Also, including children with ASD in a typical camp setting teaches their peers at camp to become more accepting of those with differences, which often transfers to other settings such as school.
The benefits of recreation for youth on the autism spectrum include opportunities to interact and make friends, practice motor skills, follow routines and directions, make choices and become more independent. Recreation helps to increase motivation and provides a richer experience that families and teachers can integrate into learning and conversation. Most of all recreation is fun!
Where to Build Relationships through Recreation
In every community there is a wide range of informal and formal opportunities for children and adults with autism to build relationships with others through shared recreation activities. Here are some of the places where such opportunities can be found and relationships nurtured:
Inclusion in Community Programs Means...
Making all programs in which typically developing youth and their families participate accessible and available to youth with disabilities and their families.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this webpage is provided solely as a resource. Inclusion on this list does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement, nor does the omission of any particular program from this list imply disapproval. START will make reasonable efforts to keep this information current. However, programs may change at any time. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to contact the organizations directly to ascertain whether available camp experiences would be appropriate for any particular child.