C.A.M.P. is committed to providing "typical" experiences to children with autism in a camp setting. C.A.M.P.'s structure and set-up is based on information from people with autism who have described the autistic experience. The environment is controlled to ensure that C.A.M.P.ers have the ability to grow in a place where they feel safe, comfortable and protected.
C.A.M.P. goals include encouraging and increasing the use of appropriate, functional and peer communication as well as social interactions among the children (two areas in which children with autism often have the most difficulty). Additional work on increasing independence is embedded throughout every aspect of the program. Because parent input is essential to our success, parents are asked to fill out Current Levels and Summer Goals Forms at the start of the program. All individual goals are worked on in a contextual manner.
Every day C.A.M.P.ers participate in daily greeting and closing activities (which focus on building communication), arts and crafts, cooking, science and structured group games (indoor and outdoor), as well as C.A.M.P.er determined choices during free play. In addition, there are individual and group reading opportunities as well as access to specialized computer programming in every classroom. Music and Movement opportunities are provided daily with a variety of sensory-based materials and activities. Social skills development and opportunities to refine social thinking are also practiced at age-appropriate levels for each class.
We take a variety of community trips and can often be seen on our walks to the Post Office, Supermarket, South Pasadena Public Library and various local food establishments. Recreational Field Trips are also provided weekly and can include visits to the Los Angeles Zoo, the Long Beach Aquarium and Knotts Berry Farm, among others. The age group determines the schedule for each class; it is designed to best serve group needs and varies slightly by class.
C.A.M.P. is staffed by a group of experienced individuals who have demonstrated success in our program. In addition to all of our returning paid staff, a cadre of trained volunteers who seek exciting and rewarding experiences with our long running program also aids us. Staffing ratios are typically one adult for every two-three children depending on the age range of the classes; however additional support will be provided for off-campus trips, if needed. Paid staff include: one Executive Director, one Operations Director, five Room Leaders, up to ten Room Assistants, up to 10 Additional Support Assistants and one Program Assistant.
Progress will be documented daily between C.A.M.P. and home and may include photography. Written entries may be narrative or they may follow a pre-determined set of characteristics/behaviors designed to give families insight into their child's day. Parents are encouraged to report any observations or changes in their child's routine or behavior in order to allow staff to better support their child. All activities are designed to provide exposure and success so that the experiences accessed through C.A.M.P. can then be implemented into our C.A.M.P.ers daily life.