ACC offers camp for children with autismThis year, the Anne Carlsen Center tried something new — a summer camp offering services to children with autism-spectrum disorders. Held in Dickinson, N.D., the camp is focusing on increasing social skills, interaction with other children and just plain having fun all week long. This four-week camp began on July 9.
This year, the Anne Carlsen Center tried something new — a summer camp offering services to children with autism-spectrum disorders. Held in Dickinson, N.D., the camp is focusing on increasing social skills, interaction with other children and just plain having fun all week long. This four-week camp began on July 9.
The camp is offered to two different age groups. Each group consists of five children that return every day for the duration of camp. The first week was a pilot preschool camp, for children ages 3 to 5. They focused on social skills and peer interaction and had different activities each day including: playground time, snacks and technology.
The next camp is for elementary children, ages 6 to 11. It focuses on social skills and peer interaction as well, but also adds in field trips for the students so they get real-world experience using their new skills.
The camps are held at Heart River Elementary school in Dickinson. Heart River offered the use of the building for free. The Southwest Child Enhancement Center organization — a parent and professional group in the Dickinson area — made a donation that assisted with staffing, and the cost of supplies, and other expenses that the camp has encountered.
The camp offers assessment of skills and areas of need. The camp director and camp instructor meet with the child and their family before camp to identify these areas of need. A letter is sent home daily with the child to parents about progress and any projects they did or have coming up later in the week. Camp concludes with a picnic for all parents and children, and parents are given a digital picture frame with photos from their child’s camp experience.
Because this summer’s sessions filled up quickly, the ACC has decided to offer the camp on an annual basis. Plans are in progress to expand the Dickinson camp and also offer additional camps around the state.
To learn more about statewide camp opportunities, community-based services and autism services offered by the ACC, contact Martha Erickson, operations manager, at 701-300-0808; or Lorena Poppe, autism services director, at 701-934-1144.