Summit Camp is in its 4th decade serving special needs boys and girls ages 8 to 19. Although our children come to us with any number of diagnoses they all share in their difficulty making and maintaining age appropriate peer relationships. Clinical diagnoses may include: Verbal or Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, A.D.D./A.D.H.D., HFA, Asperger's Syndrome, mild Pervasive Developmental Delays, Tourette's Syndrome, O.C.D. and mild Mood Disorders.
Our children may have experienced academic, emotional and social frustration attempting to achieve within a traditional school setting. Although the child's intellectual potential may reside at, or even far above, the average (the majority of our campers are in mainstream educational settings), the child's academic performance may be below expected levels or highly erratic because of inattention, disorganization, distractibility and/or social immaturity. The child's experience in a traditional classroom setting may have been both frustrating and emotionally damaging.
Our child has had difficulty in establishing meaningful and mutually rewarding relationships with other children. While often performing beautifully on a one-to -one basis with sympathetic adults, our camper often alienates, antagonizes, or isolates himself/herself from peers. Whether due to impulsivity, an inability to read social cues, language processing difficulties, hyperactivity, or a lack of awareness of the needs of others, our camper often responds inappropriately to the social attitudes and expectations of his or her peers. As no disability is indicated by the child's appearance, other children (and adults) often expect and demand social behavior on a level beyond the child's capability.
The child we serve has been the recipient of love and attention within his home. Even within the warmth of a family setting, however, the child may have difficulty in coping with the demands placed upon him/her, or with the quite natural tendency of the family to be overprotective, or with siblings who cannot understand the atypical behaviors or the child’s seemingly "preferential treatment" by the parent.
Our campers need personal as well as interpersonal success, and Summit Camp provides it!
CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUMMIT CAMPER MAY INCLUDE:
1. AVERAGE TO ABOVE-AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE
Our children look like any other typical child. Some are so bright that they excel in many academic areas. However, because of short attention span, poor organizational skills, and/or social problems, they may not succeed in traditional school settings. They may frequently become class scapegoats and some even experience serious peer rejections.
2. DIFFICULTY MAKING AND MAINTAINING AGE APPROPRIATE PEER RELATIONSHIPS
Not for lack of desire or interest, our children have not been able to grasp social skills in the ways that many typically developing children do. As a result, our children are often socially isolated and may feel lonely. Some of our campers may understand the reciprocity of social relationships, and as a result, have difficulty engaging in group activities with peers. This also may contribute to low self-esteem and/or a poor self image.
3. INABILITY TO ORGANIZE AND STRUCTURE THEMSELVES
This lack of organization may impede some learning and may delay the acquisition of age-appropriate daily living skills. Their living space may be disorganized, they may misplace belongings, forget assignments, and may at times be generally unkempt and sometimes confused.
4. DISTRACTIBILITY AND DIFFICULTY WITH CONCENTRATION
These traits may result in impulsivity and an inability to foresee the results or consequences of their behavior – they do not look before they leap. This may lead to a poor self-image and the possible onset of social and/or emotional problems. Without appropriate intervention, children may develop behavior problems which evidence themselves as temper-tantrums (aka meltdowns), loss of self-control, and occasional acting-out.
The children we see at Summit may have difficulties in more than one of the above areas, and would not succeed in a "regular" camp.
Some of our children are so familiar with the fear of failure that they may have developed a veneer of "macho bravado" or a complete lack of confidence and unwillingness to try new things. The frequently heard statement "I don't want to do this" may really be compensation for the genuine feelings of "I'm afraid to try this - I'll probably fail again."
Since the origin of many childhood disorders have been established to be neurobiological, over 90% of our campers are on medication. Medication administration is integrated into our program and never causes embarrassment or a feeling of being different than others.
We help our children by providing a structured, consistent, and supportive environment; by setting firm, realistic, and clear limits and goals in an atmosphere of respect and caring. We are never punitive, but we are consistent in helping children understand that specific behaviors generate specific consequences. Most importantly, we demonstrate that our campers can make friends, can succeed in a team activity, and are worthwhile and productive human beings.