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 21-27. 
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, 20-24. Free of charge for eligible children, includes breakfast and lunch.

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 26.
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 26-June 1. 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 Dependent) and Type II (non-Insulin Dependent) Youth of Louisiana between the ages of 6 and 14 To learn more about camp programs and logistics, contact Kasey Davis at [email protected]. 1-800-DIABETES; July 7-13 (ages 6-11) & 14-20 (ages 11-14).
Speech ‘n’ Motion Summer Camp
Offered by the Crane Rehab Center, this 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 3-Aug. 7. Call for fees.)

Lighthouse Louisiana Summer Camp

This unique summer camp provides an outlet for fun and creative play. All youth who are blind or visually impaired from grades Kindergarten through 8 are welcome to join. This year's camp will include horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, dancing drums, trips to the Zoo, City Park, Sky Zone, and Laser Tag. Plus new this year is AstroCamp! Camp will take place from June 3 through June 28, 2019; Monday through Friday from 9 am-3 pm. (123 State St., New Orleans. 504.899.4501;
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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