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Taking the theory in a slightly different direction are sleep-away camps like Talisman, a North Carolina program for children aged 9 to 17 with ADHD, as well as a variety of other learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
Based on programs developed by the nationwide Aspen Education Group, Talisman has been ongoing for nearly a quarter of a century.
The counselor-to-camper ratio is also quite high in nearly all the ADHD summer programs throughout the country, thus ensuring that the children are not only well cared for, but also that they receive the necessary emotional support as well as physical attention.
And that, say experts, is the magic of what makes this program work. C., and Du Bois, Wyo., their two- and four-week programs lead expeditions throughout the Southeast, Florida Keys, Caribbean, Rockies, and desert Southwest, with special programs also available in Belize, Central America.
Indeed, the philosophy behind SOAR is that children with learning disabilities or ADHD "flourish" when allowed to focus on their strengths in a totally new and challenging environment. Activities include wilderness backpacking, horse packing, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, wildlife studies, mountaineering, scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and wilderness medicine.
Carefully structured, intimately monitored, even scientifically proven, the focus is on improving behavior while still giving kids a darn good summer's worth of fun.
"We never forget that fun is an essential part of the equation here -- the children need to enjoy themselves and they do, but they also know and understand that the program is about fostering the development of important skills and coping mechanisms that can not only help them when they return to school, but throughout their lifetime," says Karen Fleiss, Psy D, the director of the Summer Kids Program for children with ADHD at New York University Medical Center in New York City.
For most it means a season filled with swimming, softball, arts and crafts, and tons of fun.