Choosing the right summer camp for your child takes a bit of good, old-fashioned research and a lot of knowing what makes your own child tick. Choosing the right summer camp for a child with a hearing impairment requires the exact same thing. In fact, camps for children with hearing issues don’t differ greatly from camps for children without hearing issues when it comes to activities, comradery and long days of summer fun.
If you think your child is a good match for a summer camp program, the first thing you should do is decide whether you want to explore day camps or overnight camps. Once you choose the type of camp, here are a few questions you should ask to find the best match for your child.
- What are your child’s interests? Try to find a program that aligns with your child’s passions. If there isn’t one in your area, look for a camp that offers a large variety of traditional activities for your child to choose from. It’s a wonderful opportunity to discover new skills and talents.
- Make sure your child’s communication style is supported by the camp. Are there resources for ASL, lip reading, spoken language or all of them? Is one style preferred over the others? Asking these questions will ensure that your child feels comfortable communicating his/her needs.
- What kind of special training do the counselors complete to work at the camp? The camp counselor is a trusted authority at a summer camp and you and your child need to know that they are properly prepared and equipped to handle all situations from homesickness to hearing aid malfunctions.
- Summer camps for the hearing impaired rely on visual cues for safety. For example, some camps use flags instead of whistles to monitor swimming. Find out exactly what the camp safety protocols are so you can familiarize your child with the basics and set your own mind at ease.
- Ask to tour the facility ahead of time. If you can’t arrange that, then schedule a lengthy call to learn about the camp and to ask questions.
- Find out if there’s a family day! Experiencing your child’s camp life during a visit can enrich the experience for the whole family and will give you a common frame of reference for all the camp stories your child will tell you.
Summer camps are about fun, fresh-air, and the freedom of summer. The warm sunny days in the water followed by cooler nights under a blanket around a campfire. That wonderful feeling of sound sleep after a packed day of hiking, crafts, and horseback riding. The ability to shed the baggage of a school year and to bond with a new group of friends. Individually, those are all amazing fragments, but together those moments help build a foundation of self-sufficiency, confidence and adventure for future growth.
For a list of summer camps for the hearing impaired by state, please click HERE.