For most school districts, the decision on whether to have a child attend ESY is determined at the child’s annual review meeting for the IEP. The criterion for whether the student requires ESY usually connects to academic regression due to the prolonged absence from school. Students with special needs struggle without the structure of a set school schedule. Most out of district programs recommend ESY as well as in district self-contained classrooms.
There are several summer camps that have programs for children with special needs. JCC Camps at Medford has its Open Hearts/Open Doors (OH/OD) Program, which provides accommodations in order for children with disabilities to fully participate with age-appropriate peers. We have had success working with children with a wide range of disabilities including Autism, ADHD, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and more.
Campers in our Open Hearts/ Open Doors program are placed in groups according to grade and gender along with their typical peers. The majority of our OH/OD participants receive one-on-one assistance, though some share assistance with other campers. Integrated within camp, a trained shadow (advocate) helps each child fully maximize his/her experience. These advocates are hired and trained directly by the JCC Camps at Medford, and there is no additional cost to camp families. All staff at camp also receive training from our Open Hearts/Open doors team about creating an inclusive camp experience.