How to feel comfortable sending your child with special needs to camp

It can be hard sending any child away to camp. As a parent- you’re bound to worry about your child when they aren’t with you. It can be even harder feeling comfortable sending your child to camp if your child has a disability or special needs that will need to be attended to during their stay. Here are a few tips for parents with children who have special needs in order to help make you feel more comfortable sending your child to camp.


  • Make sure to prep your child and yourself with tons of info about the camp you choose. The better you know the staff and facilities, the better you can prepare your child for their stay away, and the more comfortable you’ll feel knowing their needs can be accommodated.
  • Talk about the benefits of camp with your child. The more excited they are to be at camp, the more willing they will be to adapt to their new surroundings. They should also have lots of time to prepare for the idea of going to camp and have any of their questions answered.
  • It may be a good idea to visit the camp before enrolling your child. Make sure any physical accommodations can be met, and that all necessary safety precautions will be taken for your child.
  • If your child has medical accommodations, either medication or physical, it may be a good idea to consult your child’s physician before their stay at camp so that you can make sure any extra steps that may need to be taken to make sure your child receives the best care possible while away, are taken. Your physician may even have some instructions for you to pass along to the camp staff in order to make your child’s stay easier.
  • Make sure you’re sharing all necessary information concerning your child’s care and behavior with the camp’s staff. Don’t assume behavioral or physical needs won’t arise while your child is at camp. Pass on critical information so the camp staff know as much as possible about your child’s needs in order to allow them to better accommodate and care for your child.
  • Make sure to pack everything your child may need, while avoiding going too over the top. Remember that most camps that accommodate special needs will already have a lot of tools in place to help your child and leave expensive or easily damaged equipment at home. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the camp to ask about your child’s possible accommodation needs.
  • Every child gets homesick, but it can be magnified if you’re dealing with a child who is easily overwhelmed or over-stimulated. Make sure to prepare your child well in advance for the challenges they may face at camp. Try not to give them an out to call home- the camp would notify you if anything serious were ever to arise. Allowing your child the choice to call home may stop them from making the effort to really benefit from their camp experience.
  • There are many camps that are tailored to different special mental, physical, and medical needs. There are also quite a few mainstream camps who provide integrated programs so that campers with extra needs are given the chance to experience camp along with many other children who may or may not require the same special accommodation. Deciding whether you want your child at a camp designed for their needs or a mainstream camp can depend on expenses, the degree of care necessary, as well as social preference for your child. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each type of camp and learn about your different accommodation options with each camp individually.
  • If you’re concerned about their needs being met during an overnight stay or even an extended period of time then try a practice stay with a friend or family member first. This way both you and your child can get used to the idea of being away from home. The trial run can also help you work out any issues with care or medication before your child leaves for camp. Day camps or sports teams can also be a good way of testing your child’s readiness.
  • Evaluate what you’re most anxious about then seek answers to put your mind at ease. If you can pinpoint what is making you the most anxious about your child being away from home then contact the camp to seek answers to your specific needs and expectations.


These are just a few of the things you can do to help put your mind at ease and better prepare your child for their camp experience. If you have any more tips that have helped you and your child to have a positive camp experience in the past, then contact Canadian Adventure so we can add them to the list!



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