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Glen Ellyn

WDSRA summer inclusion services available for children with special needs

Summer is almost here. Soon warmer weather will beckon and kids will be out of school for that long-awaited summer break. For many, that means a summer of fun and adventure with friends at local park district camps.

But if the thought of summer camp makes your heart skip a beat, and not in a good way, because it poses a struggle for your child due to a disability, inclusion services may be an option worth considering.

Inclusion services are designed to meet your child’s specific needs and afford every opportunity to perform at their highest ability level. What that means is that when you register your child for summer camp at your local park district, you can ask for help specifically for your child. It all starts by checking off the box on the registration form requesting special accommodations.

We work closely with your family to create the best possible camp experience for your child. Considerations include the overall goal you have for your child’s participation, the level at which he or she can function, your child’s strengths and what can be done to build upon those strengths to help him or her have a positive, successful experience.

Specific support may come in the form of training for park district staff or coaches, providing adaptive materials or even providing a one-on-one support staff. For instance, a child with a learning disability might struggle with understanding concepts or have difficulty following directions. Supplemental training for park district staff may be required. While a child on the autism spectrum may benefit from trained staff to “buddy up” with throughout camp. A buddy can be someone who is dedicated to working with your child to keep their focus and to guide him or her. Once the necessary accommodations are determined, we work closely with the park district to facilitate the process.

Because they are offered in cooperation with local park districts, inclusion services also are available for any regular park district program throughout the year. The best part is that inclusion services are offered at no additional cost to the families. We invite you to call a member of our inclusion team at 630-681-0962 to learn more.

Summer camp can create amazing experiences that your child will cherish for a long time to come. Inclusion services can make your heart skip a beat, in a good way, when you see the smile on your child’s face after a great day at camp.

Sandy Gbur is the executive director of Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA)

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