Providing great experiences for kids with special needs

Summer camp. There are so many great benefits for kids—fostering confidence and independence, building new and lasting friendships, and increasing exercise (and a getting a break from electronics). Camps can provide a child with special needs with those same benefits and also give parents a helpful break.
While many camps for “typical” kids are able to accommodate some the special needs of some campers, some children need more focused care than they can offer. Depending upon their special needs, there are several camps that offer activities geared to campers’ abilities and limitations, and have staff with expertise to understand their challenges, so that children with special needs in New Orleans can enjoy summer camp, too. Here we highlight several.
Camp Challenge
A sleep-away camp in Leesville completely free for young hematology/oncology patients including cancer and sickle cell disorders, and their siblings. ​LA ACA-accredited, with a full medical staff on site for the entirety of camp—at least one doctor and four nurses 24 hours a day. P.O. Box 10591, New Orleans, 504.347.CAMP (2267), July 22-28. 
A day camp for children 3 years of age and older with Spina Bifida. Camp attendees are provided 1 on 1 supervision by trained high school-aged counselors. Activities include arts and crafts, swimming, and field trips. P.O. Box 1346 Kenner, 504.737.5181,, [email protected]. July 23-27. Free, including breakfasts and lunches daily.
Camp Tiger
It’s a week-long camp for children ages 6-15 with special needs, staffed by rising second-year and incoming first-year medical students of the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. With a 2:1 counselor-camper ratio to ensure campers’ safety, the camp features a variety of activities and trips, including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Insectarium, and more. LSUHSC Campus, 533 Bolivar St., New Orleans. 337.654.4008,, [email protected]. May 21-25. Free of charge for eligible children, includes breakfast and lunch.

Lighthouse Summer Camp

Lighthouse Louisiana offers a unique four-week summer camp that provides an outlet for fun and creative play for blind or visually impaired youth grades 1st-7th. Camp activities include swimming, arts and crafts, cooking, technology training, fun with music and yoga. 123 State St., New Orleans. 504.899.4501 ext. 269; Free.

Louisiana Lions Camp

A sleep-away camp for youth with qualifying special needs, diabetes, or pulmonary disorders. Each session is one week long, and registration specifics vary by camp. 292 L. Beauford Dr. Anacoco, LA, 71403. 337.239.6567;, [email protected]. Sessions begin May 27.
For children with pulmonary disorders such as severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, tracheotomy and ventilator-assisted children. (P.O. Box 10235, New Orleans. 888.617.1118, [email protected]. May 27-June 2. Camp Pelican is funded by the Louisiana Lions, Pelicanpalooza, Fore Kids Foundation, Slam N Jamand several other generous supporters.).
A two one-week session for Type 1 (Insulin Dependant) and Type II (non-Insulin dependant) Youth of Louisiana between the ages of 6 and 14 years. (Click here to register for Session I. Click here to register for Session II. For more information on registration, contact Taylor Andersen-Beaver at [email protected]. To learn more about camp programs and logistics, contact Kasey Davis at [email protected]. 1-800-DIABETES; July 8-14 & 15-21).
Speech ‘n’ Motion Summer Camp
Offered by the Crane Rehab Center, the camp promotes social interaction and social communication skills. Through cooperative games and imaginative play, children learn to generalize social and problem-solving skills. The staff of pediatric occupational , speech, physical, art and music therapists utilize a theme-based curriculum filled with creative play, art, music and games. (8300 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans. 504.866.6990;[email protected]June 4-Aug. 8. Call for fees.)
Click here to search for more camps on our Directory page. Want to list your camp here? Click here to contact us!

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