Summer camp for kids with special needs

Camp Next Steps offers a variety of activities and outings to help kids socialize and enjoy the outdoors

Summer camp for kids with special needs

Photo credit: Foundation Place Coco

Kids with special needs can take part in a summer camp in Montreal West that aims to be educational and fun. Camp Next Steps is geared to kids 6 to 12 on the autism spectrum or with other language and learning disabilities.

By taking part in activities such as swimming and field trips, kids can improve their gross motor skills, calming techniques and emotional regulation. They will also have a chance to go to a pharmacy or depanneur so they can learn how to buy items and ask for change. In collaboration with Kids Code Jeunesse, campers will also learn how to code and create websites, which will help with listening skills, creativity and ability to work in groups.

In accordance with public health regulations, kids will stay in their own bubbles, rooms will be sanitized before a new class comes in, and hand-washing stations have been installed outside. Temperatures will also be taken upon arrival.

The camper-to-counsellor ration is one to four and the camp will take place over eight weeks from June 28 to Aug. 20. Parents can register their kids for the entire eight weeks or for a minimum of three consecutive weeks. The cost per week is $485. For more information, click here.

The camp is operated under Foundation Place Coco, a non-profit organization that runs the Little Red Playhouse, an early academic and intervention centre founded by Sharon McCarry for children with autism or other language delays.

McCarry founded the centre in 2008 after struggling to find a community program for her autistic son, Colm. The centre is for kids 2-6, and it mixes typical kids with kids who have autism. “[In our program], the kids learn about inclusion,” McCarry says. “They play together, eat together and form friendships.”

For more information, click here.