School-age children, and even teenagers, have a limited range of behaviors available to let the adults in their lives know that something is wrong.  AD/HD, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties often look the same behaviorally.  A full evaluation identifies the underlying issues causing the distress so that effective interventions can be implemented.

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Lessons from Camp

I am a HUGE proponent of camp.  It provides kids with opportunities to spend hours doing things they love as well as the opportunity to learn how to get along with different kids in different settings.  Here are some things I’ve learned:

  • Camp is an opportunity to succeed, irrespective of academic success.  Some kids struggle throughout the academic year.  Camp is a well needed breather, change of pace, and change of focus.
  • Good camps build self-esteem by providing opportunities to learn new skills.  Self-esteem is not a gift and not the result of praise, but actually is the result of accomplishment – any true accomplishment.  Camp is a great time opportunity to learn new things and enhance skills.
  • Camp builds social skills.  Even if your child attends a camp that is very close to home, it is likely that the groups will consist of children from other schools.  This is terrific practice for all kids.
  • Many camps offer the opportunity to move all day.  This is great for active kids who need to move, whether they are particularly athletic or not.
  • Camp is an opportunity to explore interests that are not a part of school.  Lego camps, robotics, athletics, arts & crafts, drama…you name it.  If your kid has a special skill or interest, there is a camp for that.  Help them develop the passion.
  • Camp allows children to practice following the directions and rules imposed by a new set of grown-ups.  While this is easy for some, a lot of children need all the help and practice they can get.
  • Camp can be great for parents.  Whether used as child care for working parents or those at home, it is important to recognize that most of us cannot provide the number of activities nor the variety of options available to our kids at camp.  While I’m a proponent of boredom so that our kids learn how to manage themselves and keep themselves entertained, I’m also a big fan of not being driven nuts by endless hours of complaints due to a lack of some organized activities.
  • Camp can allow new friendships to flourish.  Whether kids know each other prior to attending camp or not, they develop new and different relationships at camp because of the different focus, activities, and expectations of a new setting.  It helps kids see their friends in a new light.
  • Camp is another avenue to develop more independence in a safe setting.  This is of course true of sleep away camp, but even day camps afford kids with opportunities to speak up for themselves and express their opinions.
  • Camp helps parents differentiate between “problems” that occur at school and broader issues that are impacting their children more globally.  Problems that only come up at school are likely a result of something academic in nature, or directly due to relationships or demands at school.  When similar (or different) issues come up at camp, it’s an indicator of challenges that not only likely impact learning, but also are struggles that your child needs help managing on a day-to-day basis across settings.

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