For teenagers with autism, especially those who speak English and live on the South Shore, there aren’t many options when it comes to summer camp. Soutien Autism(e) Support (S.Au.S), a group that aims to provide safe and fun leisure activities for children with autism and their families, is trying to change that by offering a new summer camp called Oasis.
The six-week bilingual camp takes place on July 4 to Aug. 12, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Candiac. In its first year, the camp will offer 12 spots for participants between 12- and 18-years-old who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, are fully toilet trained and do not exhibit aggressive behaviour.
Every week, campers will get music therapy, an hour of dance and go on “nature” outings such as trips to the beach or strawberry picking. There will also be arts and crafts, free play and sports including swimming and basketball.
“These teens don’t always have access to a camp, so we want them to be stimulated every day, make friends and have experiences they wouldn’t if they stayed at home,” explained Audrey Burt, president of Soutien Autism(e) Support.
There will be one monitor for every three campers (students studying in special needs-related fields, such as psychology, education and occupational therapy).
A two-hour open house will be held March 20 to help determine whether the prospective campers are a good fit. Different stations will be set up to see how each child interacts with others and deals with the pace of a day camp. During that time, parents will meet with staff members to fill out paperwork and get more information.
The camp costs $225 per week and priority will be given to those who register their teen for the entire six weeks, those who are currently registered in S.Au.S activities and those who show up for the open house. For more information, visit s-au-s.org.