The Best Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs in NYC and Beyond

kids playing with water

kids playing with water

Choosing a summer camp can seem daunting and all the more so if your child has special needs. As a parent we understand your concerns that the camp you choose must be able to serve your child’s individual needs and in some cases even provide 1:1 camper-to-staff supervision.

We’ve rounded up a number of camps of day and overnight camps that cater especially to children with special needs. Many day camps provide bussing and overnight camps offer a variety of packages.  Just one-week might be right for the first time camper or up to nine-weeks for the camper who has experienced success with the camp experience.

Other camps offer inclusion programs so we encourage you to browse through our Day Camp And Overnight Camp guides to see if other programs might also be a good fit for your child.

Day Camps

The Bridge Center, Massachusetts

Camp Connect is designed to meet the needs of children ages 4 to 22 with Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and related disorders. Kids enjoy traditional camp activities like swimming, horseback riding, archery and therapeutic activities like team-building and social skills groups. The program can work to meet the goals of your child’s IEP. Camp is offered in two, three-week sessions.

Price: Each three-week camp session, $2,100

Learn more: thebridgectr.org

Camp Bari Tov, Rockland County

Run by the 92Y this summer recreational program is for children with Autism and PDD who need 1:1 supervision. The six –week program is designed to help your child develop creative, social, and physical skills. Transportation between the 92Y to the 50-acre campgrounds in Rockland County, just 20-minutes outside New York City is provided. Daytrips to a beach, small zoo, amusement park and bowling alley as well as sports, arts and outdoor activities are all offered.

Price: Six-week program, $6,500

Learn more: 92y.org

Marvin’s Camp, Staten Island

A full-day camp for children ages 6 to 21 with special needs. Campers swim twice daily in the aquatic complex and receive instruction in sports, music, arts and crafts, dancing, and Israeli culture. Weekly trips are taken to popular destinations such as Sesame Place and BounceU. Door to door transportation and hot lunch are available at an additional cost.

Price: Funding accepted through Medicare waiver.

Learn more: sijcc.org

Wagon Road Camp, Westchester County

Located on 53 acres in Chappaqua, this camp offers a co-ed summer day camp program for children ages 6 to 13. Qualified counselors supervise small groups of campers. Activities include outdoor swimming pool, horsemanship, archery, athletics, drama, dance, music, nature study, cooking, team building, and arts and crafts. Daily transportation is provided from Children’s Aid centers in the Bronx, and Manhattan. Westchester pick-up locations are in Croton, Mt. Vernon and Yonkers. The summer respite camp is one-week long in August. Other respite programs are offered throughout the year.

Price: Children must be Medicaid waivered to attend.

Learn more: childrensaidsociety.org

Overnight Camps

Camp Akeela, Vermont

Camp Akeela is a small, traditional, summer camp in Vermont where “quirky” campers who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s or a non-verbal learning disability learn how to better interact with their peers and thrive. Students are 9- to 17-year-old boys and girls. They have an additional outpost located in Wisconsin.

Price: 3.5 week sessions from $7,700

Learn more: campakeela.com

Camp Dream, Georgia

This traditional overnight co-ed camp is for children and young adults ages 4 and up with moderate to severe physical and developmental disabilities. There are two summer sessions and each session runs four days/three nights. Programs are volunteer and have a 1:1 camper-to-counselor ratio.

Price: Each session costs $500

Learn more: campdreamga.org

Camp Dunnabeck, New York

A camp where boys and girls ages 8 to 16 with dyslexia or a language-based learning difference build the reading and language skills they need in a fun camp environment. Activities include archery, horseback riding, mountain biking, tennis, martial arts, athletic fitness, dance, filmmaking, programming, maker space, ceramics, music, drama and the visual arts. Camp runs for six weeks with the option of a half-day camp, full day camp or overnight camp experience.

Price: Half-day camp, $6,000; fill-day camp $9,000; overnight camp, $12,000

Learn more: kildonan.org

Camp Huntington

This co-ed residential program is for campers ages 6 to 21+ who have learning and developmental needs, autism, mental retardation, learning disabilities, or ADD/HD. They offer fun adaptive therapeutic recreation. Camp is held in three sessions each three weeks long, or one overall nine-week session.

Price: Each weekly session (all inclusive), $2,105. Discounts for kids attending three, six or nine weeks. Scholarships are available.

Learn more: camphuntington.com

Camp Kodiak, Ontario, Canada

Catering to both children with and without ADHD, LD, NLD and high-functioning Asperger Syndrome, Camp Kodiak provides a number of activities that seek to foster learning. With a counselor to camper ratio of 2:1, participants between 6-18 years old can participate in dance, go-karting, team sports, rock climbing, and more. Camp Kodiak’s staff will also work with participants in areas such as social skills building.

Price: Three week programs from $4,760

Learn more: campkodiak.com

Camp Lee Mar, Pennsylvania

Located in the beautiful Poconos Mountains this co-ed overnight camp for kids ages 7 to 21 caters to children with mild to moderate developmental challenges. Now in it’s 67th season kids enjoy traditional summer camp activities, academics, a heated pool, speech and language therapy, and optional day trips in this seven-week program.

Price: Seven week-camp session, $11,300

Learn more: leemar.com

Camp Merry Heart, New Jersey

This fully accessible overnight respite camp run by Easterseals New Jersey is for children ages 6 to 21 with disabilities. They are happy to offer a safe, supportive outdoor recreation environment where 1:1 assistance is available. Six day and 12 day respite camps are run throughout the summer. Other respite programs available during the year as well.

Price: A six-day respite, $1,200; a 12-day respite, $2400

Learn more: easterseals.com

Camp Northwood, The Adirondacks, New York

Accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). Instructional summer sleep away camp for socially immature, learning challenged and high functioning autistic spectrum campers, (co-ed, ages 8-18). With a 2:1 camper/counselor ratio, campers have a wealth of opportunities to succeed while enjoying a memorable summer. The 40-acre campus is situated on the edge of a beautiful 9-mile lake in the Adirondacks, and offers More than 30 structured, non-competitive activities promoting independence, self-esteem and mastery. The Northwood Center, a division of Camp Northwood, Inc. provides summer programming for young adults, (ages 16-21) as they learn and practice independent living, practical and social skills in a simulated apartment setting.

Price: Four-week sessions from $9,300

Learn more: nwood.com

Camp Ramapo, Rhinebeck, New York

More than 500 kids ages 6 to 16 with special needs gather each summer to experience summer camp. The program services many children from non-verbal elementary children to teens needing conflict resolution skills. Campers enjoy the lakefront and outdoor nature activities as well as fun camp activities. There’s a 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio. Campers can select from one-, two-, three-, five-, six-, eight or a nine-week session.

Price: Fees range from $1,950 for one week to $16,750 for nine weeks.

Learn more: ramapoforchildren.org

Dragonfly Forest, Pennsylvania

This summer residential program is designed for children with autism and medical needs including 22Q Deletion Syndrome, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and persistent asthma. Each one-week camp session is for targeted campers. Session one, 22Q; Session two, Autism; Session three, Explorers (transition to adulthood); Session four, Asthma; Session 5, Hemotology.

Price: Each one-week session, $650

Learn more: dragonflyforest.org

Summit Camp & Travel, Poconos, New York

Summit Camp is an ACA accredited sleepaway camp in the Pocono Mountains that has provided platforms of support for youth ages 8-19 that are experiencing social and emotional challenges. Their programs seek to provide a positive, traditional sleep-away experience where kids with needs such as ADHD, LD, and HFA can have fun, meet friends, and be themselves.

Price: Three week programs from $6,950

Learn more: summitcamp.com

 

Have an amazing day or sleep-away camp we haven’t included? Wing us the details at Katarina@newyorkfamily.com with all the details, and we’ll do our best to add you to our roundup.

 

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