Summer Camp for Children with Learning Differences
05/09/2017 by Karen Kern, M.A., CCC-SLP
All children deserve a traditional summertime experience, but not at the expense of valuable opportunities for therapy and support. This is the philosophy of Cynthia Marrapodi, M.S., CCC-SLP, director of Creative Speech Solutions. Camp PAL (Play and Learn) is a unique camp for preschoolers and school-aged children, run by Creative Speech Solutions’ dedicated team of therapists and professional interns. Camp groups are small and carefully constructed by Ms. Marrapodi and Anna Pickton, M.A., CCC-SLP, director of Camp PAL, who work hard to match children with similar skill sets.

Summer activities such as sports, arts and crafts, music, and games provide an array of opportunities to expand children’s communication, social and educational skills. At Camp PAL, children participate in fun, goal-directed group activities that provide opportunities to grow, socialize, explore and develop new skills with just the right amount of structured support. Language, social and sensory activities are infused into each component of the camp day during the following enriching group sessions: Chat & Play with Friends, From Jumping to Drawing, Fun with Food, Loving Literacy, and “I AM" Specials.

The goal of Chat & Play with Friends is to expand language skills. Emphasis is placed on improving social aspects of language. Through play activities, children develop vocabulary and auditory processing skills; build interactive and cooperative play skills; and learn to share ideas, compromise and work collaboratively. Portions of Michelle Garcia-Winner’s Social Thinking® curriculum are incorporated into sessions.

From Jumping to Drawing focuses on improving sensory processing, strength, and fine and gross motor skills through a variety of stimulating activities. Emphasis is placed on problem solving, building self-esteem, and developing motor skills such as balance, eye-hand coordination, grasp, in-hand manipulation, handwriting, cutting, and drawing.

Fun with Food educates children about food types and categories as well as the importance of eating a well-balanced diet. In a fun and non-threatening manner, children are encouraged to expand their food horizons as they socialize with friends. Restricted diets are kept in mind when planning snacks.

During Loving Literacy, children participate in multi-sensory activities devised to improve and expand literacy skills. Instruction, which is focused on the skill level and needs of the group members, promotes phonics, reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehension and speaking.

Each week campers also partake in “I AM" Specials that encourage positive thinking and improved self-esteem through activities such as yoga, dance and movement, music therapy and pet therapy. Because children with learning differences often experience anxiety, low self-esteem and reduced confidence, it is important that they are provided with tools to help build upon their innate strengths and celebrate their differences in positive ways.

For more information about Camp PAL, call 908–598-0228 or email:
admin@creativespeechsolutions.com 

July 11th - August 17th
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
Southern Boulevard Elementary School
192 Southern Blvd., Chatham, NJ
1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
http://www.creativespeechsolutions.com/docs/2017_PAL_registration.pdf
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