With the end of the school year fast approaching, now is the golden hour to get summer camps booked. After all, it’s only a matter of time before the kids are home for good.
For families with children with autism, finalizing summer plans can be an extra challenge, especially when it comes to finding programs that are just as fun as they are supportive. Luckily, the Hudson Valley and Westchester are packed to the brim with options.
Browse through our list to find the perfect fit for your little one this summer.
Camp Hidden Valley, a division of the Fresh Air Fund, hosts a combined program for boys and girls with and without special needs at its Hudson Highlands site. Children ages 8 to 12 can find commonalities as they create art, explore nature, and experience the great outdoors.
Length: 12 days
This High Falls camp runs week-long programs that center around kid-friendly themes. Campers can enter a fantasy world for animation week, grab their favorite books for storybooks week, or explore the galaxy for High Falls Stars week. The camp operates on a therapeutic programming model to positively challenge students and promote trust and cooperation.
High Falls; 855.707.2267
Length: 1 week
Coarc, the Columbia County disabilities support program, holds its summer fun camp out of a pavilion space in Copake. Children ages 5 to 16 can celebrate a theme, which changes every year, while playing board games, crafting, or playing soccer and basketball. In order to participate, youngsters must live in Columbia County, have an Individual Education Plan, and be eligible for developmental disabilities funded services.
Length: 4 weeks
Kids can roam free across Camp Ramapo’s 250-acre campus in Rhinebeck. Open to little ones between the ages of 6 and 16, Ramapo works with children affected by social, emotional, and learning challenges to build relationships, improve self-confidence, and have fun. Uniquely, the camp maintains a 1:1 staff to camper ratio, which means each child gets hands-on attention. There is also a teen leadership program for 14- to 16-year-olds who seek to gain more independence and responsibilities.
Length: Varied, 1-9 week session options
Camp Sunrise, Camp Warwick’s programming for individuals with special needs, caters to people ages 8 to 55. Each session runs for a week in June or July. During that time, campers test out a variety of community activities, such as hiking, bowling, and dancing. More activities include picnicking at Wawayanda State Park and a drive-in movie.
Length: 1 week
Since 1965, Clover Patch Camp has made a name for itself as a summer hub for individuals with disabilities. The Glenville site includes trails, cabin lodging, and a heated swimming pool to help campers make the most of their days. Clover Patch also offers Camp Spectacular, a day camp option for children with autism spectrum disorders. The camp maintains a 2:1 camper to counselor ratio.
Type: Residential and commuter
Length: 6 days for residential session or 4 days for commuter session
As part of Greystone Programs autism support initiatives, Club Aspire extends its afterschool support into a summer break event for kids ages 6 to 21. Youths in Ulster and Orange Counties can spend the dog days of summer having the time of their lives. Campers can learn money and time management skills, along with arts and crafts, dancing, cooking, and music.
Length: 1 week
The Dutchess County branch of Greystone Programs offers its summer break extension for boys and girls ages 6 to 21. Children receive individualized assistance and learn about self-care, safety, and social skills.
Wappingers Falls; 845.297.5282
Length: 1 week
Sports fans will love this engaging camp in collaboration with the Hudson Valley Renegades. Attendees can learn the art of the game from local players while family members stand by or participate at their leisure. With no charge for the camp and no age limit for attendees, the event is open for everyone.
Wappingers Falls; 607.329.0010
Length: July 18-19
The “Toward Tomorrow” program at the JCC of Mid-Westchester caters to young learners with developmental needs ages 3 to 5. Kids can experience music, swimming, and other activities that enrich the monthly theme. Parents can choose between half-day and full-day options based upon their child’s needs. School district approval is required in order for a child to be accepted into the program.
Length: 2-8 week session options
The Utica space hosts not one, but three summer camps for children and teens on the autism spectrum. The Teen Camp, Overnight Camp, and Awesome Summer Days Camp run throughout the month of July. While the programs vary in length, all are designed to support young learners with ASD.
Length: Awesome Summer Days Camp – 5 weeks, ages 5 to 13; Teen Camp – 4 weeks, ages 13 and up; Overnight Camp – 3 weeks, ages 8 to 16
Every summer, the Marist Brothers Center at Esopus hosts the Mid-Hudson Valley Camp series. The “Special Kids I” camp is designed for children ages 4 to 15 with moderate to severe special needs, while the “Special Kids II” camp is for both young adults and adults ages 15 to 30 with physical and developmental disabilities. The center also offers deaf, Molloy freshman, camp angels, adult vacation, Sr. Pats camp, Sacred Heart, and young adult camps.
Length: 1 week
Open to children and teens ages 4 to 20, the North East Westchester Special Recreation Summer Day Camp divides campers into supportive groups based on independence levels. The days are divided into four activity sessions in the morning, followed by breaks for lunch, swimming, and one afternoon activity.
Briarcliff Manor; 914.347.4409
Length: Six weeks
This camp focuses on children with special needs from K through eighth grade with a setting that allows for character development and encourages social and emotional growth through fun programming that fosters new friendships. Campers are encouraged to try activities among the art, sports, and adventure programs before they choose what to specialize in during their time at camp.
Saratoga Springs; 212.289.4872
Length: 3 or 6 weeks