For most families, summer is a time of exciting opportunities. Fun plans are made for going to day camp, summer camp, days at the park or pool, trips, lessons t-ball and more.
But for many families, the opportunities are few. Due to their child’s special needs, it can be challenging to find a place or activity where their child can learn, have fun and create summer memories. Anxiety, autism spectrum, speech, sensory processing and other difficulties can make a traditional summer camp almost impossible.
The Therapy Tree in Lake Villa has created summer camp programs that are specially designed to help children with these special needs flourish and grow. Campers enjoy time with their peers while having fun playing and building their skills in a variety of activities. The camps are staffed with numerous volunteers and experienced professional therapists: an occupational therapist, a speech therapist and a psychotherapist.
They currently have four summer camps going on, each for a different grade level.
- Exploring with Friends for 3-6 year olds
- Summer Pen Pals for 2nd grade and up
- Summer Buddies Therapy Group for 2nd-5th graders
- Social Skills club for ages 6th-12th
See the complete schedule here: Summer Camps at the Therapy Tree
I had the opportunity to visit with the Exploring with Friends camp (for ages 3-6) for a day and see what it was all about. And I have to tell you, that I was highly impressed with the experience. The program was well structured, well-staffed and treated each child with dignity and respect.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the team, who explained the structure of the day. Each day, the camp follows the same structure, but with a different theme. When the children arrive, they are greeted individually and are able to choose between one of two areas to work in with volunteers, books or blocks.
As soon as all of the participants arrive, they all move into group time where everyone is recognized, the theme is introduced as well as a related song and story. Then everyone is split up into one of four groups in which they will cycle through a set of stations. Each station, again following the theme, has activities that are specially designed to increase social skills, promote sensory stimulation and just be fun.
After stations, everyone moves to group motor activities and then to snack. Each child’s food sensitivities were taken into consideration and everyone had a personalized plate. Then came craft time, where the focus was on fine motor skills, patterns, colors and encouraging the children to verbalize what they were doing. Everyone went back to group time until it was time to go.
What impressed me the most about this program was:
1. How deliberate each activity was in working on strengthening specific skills. motor, sensory, speech, etc.
2. The staff to child ratio was almost 1:1 the day that I was there
3. How each child’s individual needs were seen and responded to, from special sensory devices to food sensitivities.
Session 1 will be drawing to a close soon. However, this means that there is still time to sign up for Session 2! Contact The Therapy Tree to get more information and register for this great opportunity for your 3-6 year old and make this a summer to remember.
Exploring with Friends Camp
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30 – 11:30
2nd session (5 Weeks) July 22nd through August 21st
The Therapy Tree hours:
Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday – 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday – 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday – Closed
Disclosure: The Therapy Tree is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner.