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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001

xMinds Resources

Summer Camp Guide
Every year, we receive requests for recommendations for summer camps that are autism-friendly. This year, we are fortunate to have the Communication Committee compile a listing of both Professional Member Camps and Parent Recommended Camps! Thank you to xMinds Communication Committee Member, Christina Weishaar for compiling this guide. Please note that inclusion in this directory is voluntary and does not constitute an endorsement from xMinds.

xMinds Professional Member Summer Camps
Camps Recommended by xMinds Parents

xMinds Professional Member Summer Camps

Alliance Pediatrics

Secret Agent Academy Summer Program
Location: Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, 1901 E. Jefferson St., Rockville, MD 20852
The Secret Agent Academy Summer Program is based on the curriculum of the Secret Agent Society (SAS), an evidence-based intervention for children ages 8-12 with social & emotional challenges. Each day, the cadets will be exposed to exciting spy-themed games and skill-building activities. Licensed Behavior Analysts and Licensed Psychologists will provide specialized lessons daily.

The Auburn School

Camp Aristotle

 9545 Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20910
Contact: (301) 588-8048; info.silverspring@camparistotle.org
Website: hhttps://www.theauburnschool.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=307 
Camp Aristotle at the Silver Spring Campus will run for 6 weeks again in summer 2016. Weekly sessions begin July 5 and run through August 12. We serve campers who are rising Kindergarten through 9th graders. We have both half day and full day options available. Our summer program is designed with engaging and exciting activities, projects and visitors relating to a weekly theme. Our model integrates social thinking and learning support throughout the day so campers can build friendships, explore, and most importantly, have fun!

Center for Communication & Learning and Fitness for Health

B Social Therapeutic Program

 11140 Rockville Pike, Suite 303, Rockville, MD 20852
Contact: (301) 231-7138; info@fitnessforhealth.org
Website: http://fitnessforhealth.org/b-social-therapeutic-summer-program/
The B Social Camp targets children ages 4–10. Fitness for Health pediatric fitness specialists in collaboration with the Center for Communication and Learning speech and language therapists will provide an integrated movement and social cognitive thinking program for your children. This program will integrate Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® concepts with motor activities. These will be introduced in a fun and motivating way encouraging participants to explore and improve their social cognition and motor development. Activities will focus on developing your child’s abilities in the areas of Cooperation, Problem Solving, Being a Part of a Group, Fitness Fun, and Conversational Skills.

B Social Therapeutic Teen Program
Location: 11140 Rockville Pike, Suite 303, Rockville, MD 20852
Contact: (301) 231-7138; info@fitnessforhealth.org
Website: http://fitnessforhealth.org/b-social-therapeutic-summer-program/
The B Social Teen Camp targets children ages 11–16. 

The Ivymount School


Location: Edmund Burke School, 4101 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Contact: Callie Stezar; 240-676-4955; take2campdc@gmail.com
Website: http://www.take2camp.org/index.html
Take2 is a therapeutic summer camp for children approximately 7-14 years old who have difficulty making and keeping friends because of brain-based differences that impede their functioning in the social world. Our children want to be social; we offer them the tools and support they require to understand the complexities of social interaction. 

Take2 Middle School
Edmund Burke School, 4101 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Contact: Callie Stezar; 240-676-4955; take2campdc@gmail.com
Website: http://www.take2camp.org/msc.html
The Take2 Middle School provides kids between the ages of 11-14 the opportunity to interact with a small group of peers to develop social learning and problem solving skills, flexibility and new friendships. This fun and engaging camp sets up campers for success by planning for and working through group projects and outings in the DC-metro area, where campers become comfortable applying and generalizing new skills.

Kids Being Kids

Kids Being Kids Summer Camp

Location: Carl Sandburg Elementary School, 451 Meadow Hall Dr., Rockville, MD 
Contact: 301-473-1535; projectexploration@gmail.com
Website: http://www.kidsbeingkids.org/summer-camp.html
Kids Being Kids Summer Camp is designed for children with special needs ages 5–12. Kids Being Kids has a low staff to camper ratio to ensure the needs of campers are being met. The camp’s play-based model engages children and caters to their strengths. Activities include: 
•    Neo-traditional sports
•    Arts and crafts
•    Dramatic play 
•    Music and movement
•    Water play
•    Experiential learning
•    Sensory integration activities
•    Social skills development
•    Independence building

MoCo Movement Center

Summer Adventure
Location: 5268-A Nicholson Lane, Kensington, MD 20895
Contact: 301-770-KIDS (5437); Info@mocomc.com
Website: https://www.mocomc.com/camp
Our Summer Adventure Camp offers a dynamic curriculum that keeps every child moving and learning in a non-competitive and motivating environment. We have highly trained staff, including expert athletes, medical, and educational specialists that will provide your child with activities specifically designed to target areas like physical coordination, strength, balance, speed, endurance, self-confidence, and self-regulation in a state of the art athletic facility. With low child-to-instructor ratios, we can customize your child's camp experience to their strengths and interests, including ice skating, rock climbing, obstacle courses, sports and music.

Treatment and Learning Centers

Little Friends Language and Learning Camp
Location: The Katherine Thomas School, 9975 Medical Center Dr., Rockville, MD 20850
Contact: Lisa Torvik (301) 424-5200, ext. 6923
Website: http://ttlc.org/summer_programs/programs/speechand-ot/
Little Friends Language & Learning Camp is geared toward preschool aged children to enhance early literacy skills while developing communication, social interaction and play skills. A Speech-Language Pathologist and Special Educator create hands-on, exploratory learning based on your child’s individual needs. Early learning concepts include language, pre-reading and math skills. Fun camp activities with weekly themes, arts & crafts, water play, playground, music, drama and much more! Bonus – handwriting and fine motor activities led by an Occupational Therapist.

Friends Together 
Location: The Katherine Thomas School, 9975 Medical Center Dr., Rockville, MD 20850
Contact: Lisa Torvik (301) 424-5200, ext. 6923
Website: http://ttlc.org/summer_programs/programs/speechand-ot/
Combining the best of our speech-language and occupational therapy programs, this year’s summer camp program focuses on building skills in communication and social-pragmatic language while addressing areas of sensory processing and motor planning through play. Groups are led each day by both a Speech-Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist. Daily fun with our three sensory gyms, playground, water play, arts & crafts, music and more make for an exciting summer! Attend either the morning or afternoon session or pack a lunch and stay for a full day with our daily lunch bunch.

Friends Interacting Group
Location: 2092 Gaither Rd. , Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850
Contact: Lisa Torvik (301) 424-5200, ext. 6923
Website: http://ttlc.org/summer_programs/programs/speechand-ot/
The Summer Interaction Groups are based on a developmental model and the focus is on helping children ages 2 ½ through 5 develop and improve communication, social interaction, motor and sensory processing skills. Through our multidisciplinary approach, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists and Psychologists work to improve your child’s interaction, communication and peer play skills.

Extended Summer Session
Location: 2092 Gaither Rd. , Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850
Contact: Lisa Torvik (301) 424-5200, ext. 6923
Website: http://ttlc.org/summer_programs/programs/speechand-ot/
The Extended Summer Session is for friends who are already registered in at least three weeks of one of the TLC camps listed above (from 6/27–8/12). The extended weeks are 8/15–8/18 and 8/22–8/25. The adventure continues with our Speech-Language and Occupational Therapy staff leading the way. Held at our Gaither Road location, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Limited spots available.

Camps Recommended by xMinds Parents

If you would like to contact the parent who recommended a particular camp, please e-mail Monica Martinez.

Bar T Kid’s Camps
Location: Various locations throughout the county.
Contact: Joe Richardson; 301-948-3172; jrichardson@bar-t.com
Website: http://www.bar-t.com/

Parent’s comments: 
My son attended Bar-T Camp at Mills Creek for 7 weeks. He really liked it, mostly the Field Trips they have each week (splash parks, museums, water parks, Adventure Park, etc). They also go twice a week to the pool and one day they go to the park/playground. They have themed weeks and have activities through the day and week around the theme. We both love it because it is sensory friendly, the counselors know him, and he is able to tell them when he is not up to an activity and just wants to do something else. They understand and are able to accommodate him. The final week of camp, my son went to Bar-T Ranch. He had a good time, but it was a little harder for him. The space is a lot bigger and spread out, so he felt a little lost. I had to campaign hard with the director of his regular camp to make sure one of the staff that was with him for 7 weeks was going to be at the Ranch for that week to look out for him. In summary, I would say that if parents are looking for a summer camp for kids with no behaviors that can follow directions but also need a routine and only want to have fun, Bar-T is a good option. It is not a therapy camp or an academic one.

Camp Greentop (The League for People with Disabilties)
Location: 15001 Park Central Road, Sabillasville, MD 21780
Contact: Emily Ozuunlu; 410.323.0500 x319; eozuunlu@leagueforpeople.org
Website: http://www.leagueforpeople.org/programs-services/camping-recreation

Parent’s comments: 
My son has attended Camp Greentop (near Thurmont in the Catoctin Mountains) for the past six years. We love it! It is run by the League for People with Disabilities and offers a range of options for lower to higher functioning children, teens and young adults. It includes a section called "League Pioneers," for higher functioning teens and young adults (this is the section in which my son participates) that is located slightly off "campus," with the youth living in tents (rather than cabins) and doing a number of higher functioning activities. They still go to the main camp for meals, swimming and celebrations. The main camp has cabins, accessible bathrooms, showers, etc. The camp is staffed with counselors from all over the world (this year, mostly from the UK, NZ and Australia), all of whom speak perfect English. They are all trained to interact with and support children and youth with special needs. And, of course, there are medical personnel on staff to administer meds, etc. It is expensive, but the Autism Waiver covers it, if one is lucky enough to receive waiver services. There is also a day camp option.

Camp JCC
Location: 6125 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852
Contact: (301) 881-0100
Website: http://www.jccgw.org/camp-youth-teens/camp-jcc/

s comments: My child said he enjoyed this camp, that he liked the people and feels he picked up some useful skills, even something as simple as carefully listening to instructions. Students can earn up to 25 Student Service Learning Hours for the week, and I received updates from the Camp Liaison.
Parents comments: What we liked about the camp: Inclusion program with one-on-one support to facilitate mainstreaming in regular camp bunks, swimming 2x per day (one instructional, one free swim), fun activities, creative time, music, sports, and field trips.

Camp Sonshine
Location: Silver Spring and Germantown
Contact: (301) 989-2267; info@campsonsine.org
Website: http://campsonshine.org/

Parent’s comments:
 Will accommodate campers with special needs (for example, will place in smaller groups)

Croydon Creek Nature Camps (City of Rockville)
Location: 852 Avery Road, Rockville, MD 20851
Contact: (240) 314-8620
Website: http://www.rockvillemd.gov/index.aspx?NID=380

Parent’s comments:
 There are a variety of camps to choose from. The Nature Service Learning camp provides campers age 10-14 with the opportunity to earn 10 SSL hours. The camp is always great. They will provide a shadow if you ask for one for any of their camps no extra charge.

Imagination Stage Summer Camp
Location: 4908 Auburn Avenue Bethesda, Maryland 20814 
Contact: 301-961-6060
Website: http://www.imaginationstage.org/classesacamps/find-a-camp

Parent’s comments:
 Imagination Stage offers one and two week camps, with half and full day options for most, throughout the summer for preschool through high school aged children. The camps have a theme and teach kids how to use expressions, their body and their voice to communicate. All staff at Imagination Stage are trained to work with students with special needs. Additionally, they offer one-on-one assistance for students who need the extra help to fully access the camp and take part in the program. Contact the Access Coordinator by asking for Diane Nutting when you call their number. She will talk with you and figure out the best place for your child and set up the aide to help your child participate, if needed. My son did so well in past summer camps, he ended up not needing the aide by the end of the camp session. 

Montgomery Parks Program Access
Location: Varies depending on particular Montgomery Parks Camp your child attends
Contact: Genevieve Jennai; 301-495-2477; ProgramAccess@MontgomeryParks.org
Website: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/about/program_access.shtm
Program Access, also referred to as “Inclusion”, within the Montgomery County Department of Parks is the means by which individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate in recreational programs and activities of their choice. Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an individual’s successful participation in a program. Some minimum eligibility requirements (age, level of participation) must be met in order to participate.

Parent’s comments: My son really loves nature and biology. Montgomery Parks offered a lot of camps centered around his favorite themes, but I worried that he would have difficulty being successful without some accommodations. Montgomery Parks Program Access provided him with a high school student aide for the 3 weeks of camp he attended. He bonded well with the aide and had his best summer ever alongside neurotypcial peers! The Program Access coordinator was proactive in communicating with me about which strategies would work best for my son. She helped me feel confident that my son would succeed in the inclusive setting of the camp.

JumpStart Summer Camp
Organization: National Speech/Language Therapy Center
Location: Bethesda, MD
Contact: (301) 493-0023
Website: http://www.nationalspeech.com/summer-camp-clinics.html

Parent’s comments:
 My preschool-aged son had a great time practicing his speech and social skills at the JumpStart Summer Camp.

Way Off Broadway (City of Rockville)
Location: F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater, 603 Edmonston Dr., Rockville, MD 20851
Contact: 240-314-8620; camps@rockvillemd.gov
Website: https://rockenroll.rockvillemd.gov/econnect/Activities/ActivitiesDetails.asp?ProcessWait=N&aid=27 

Summit Camp

Location: Honesdale, PA
Contact: 973-732-3230; info@summitcamp.com
Website: http://www.summitcamp.com/

Parent’s comments: 
Summit Camp is a therapeutic sleep away camp for children and teens. It offers three different sessions, the first is three weeks, the second is two and the last session is three. They have an on-site nurse that handles medication. The place is very well organized and is staffed with generally college-aged kids, many of whom are in the fields of education, special education, psychology and related fields. All of the campers have special needs, some of whom are on the spectrum. I would say the needs of kids are probably mild to moderate. I felt safe sending our son and he really had a blast and made a few friends. Activities are fairly typical of a camp, with lake swimming, canoeing, ropes course, outdoor games, dancing, etc. Some social skills work is built into the camp, but I did not get the sense that there was too much. The camp is a place for kids to get away from home and have fun more than anything else. Kids sleep in cabins with maybe 8-10 kids and a few counselors.

Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

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