Finding summer camp can be difficult for parents with children on autism spectrum

DELRAY BEACH, Fla - Summer camp can be fun, but when your child is on the autism spectrum it presents its own set of challenges.

"To find a good summer camp is difficult," said Stephanie Smith, whose  four-year-old daughter, Jordan, is active with a lot of energy.

"She needs a lot of attention with the teachers, and also the other children," she said.  

Jordan will be playing in the same summer camp this year as her four-year-old friend Dylan.  His mother also knows what it's like to find a camp for a child on the spectrum.

"It's very difficult because if your child isn't the traditional, typical child, finding people that will understand their needs and work with them and still have fun is very hard," said Gayle Schreiber.

The parents already have signed their children up for summer camp at the Slomin Family Center in Delray Beach.  Like many parents in this situation, they didn't have many choices.

"I'm not aware of a large number of camps that will specifically focus on children with autism," said Jeff Zirulnick, vice president of the Slomin Family Center .

The Slomin Family Center serves children on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum.  One of its features is that it allows brothers and sisters to attend, even if they're not on the spectrum.

With camps offering different levels of services, parents of children with autism find they have to take more time, make more calls and inspect more facilities when choosing a camp.

"If a camp is extremely active and a child does not have the ability to participate fully they need to determine if they camp can adapt for that child to give that positive experience," said Zirulnick. "Or it might be that camp isn't the appropriate setting."

They're the extra steps needed to make for a fun summer for the children and their parents.