BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Many summer camps are out of reach for children with learning challenges, but one innovative camp in Baton Rouge has a much different philosophy.
"I wonder if anybody remembers what this book's about," Dr. Vicky Roy asked a group of kids one recent summer morning. Roy is a licensed speech-language pathologist and a counselor at Camp Dynamics.
Hands immediately shot into the air at the area's only camp designed for kids who are used to hearing the word 'no.'
"We have campers who have a hard time understanding language, either spoken or written," said Stacy Levy, another counselor who works alongside Roy as a speech-language pathologist. "We also have campers who would not fit into the typical camp atmosphere, because they have a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger's, or OCD tendencies, or even ADHD to the point where they would probably be asked to leave."
They're all welcomed at the full-summer, day-long camp for kids who need special attention. The curriculum and activities are designed with four goals in mind: reading comprehension, written expression, focus & attention, and social interaction.
"Because we have them all day long, we're really able to look at helping the campers to problem-solve and collaborate with each other, makes it very, very unique," Dr. Roy explained.
Campers like Blake Savoie who said camp "kinda feels like school, but it's more fun."
Kids as young as five interact with teenagers – also with learning challenges. They play a special role at camp.
"They're called junior counselors. They benefit from therapy also, but also leadership, being a good role model," Levy said.
The camp doesn't feel like therapy, and that's the idea. The focus is on how the brain learns, and how to make it more efficient.
"Little pockets throughout the day we provide these body-brain integration exercises that allow the children to be more ready, to be more focused so that we can provide them with therapy that sticks," Levy added.
Parents seem impressed and often relieved that such a camp exists. It's a chance for kids who bounce from challenge to challenge to finally land in their happy place.
"That's what they're seeing is that there isn't this kicking and screaming thing going on," Roy said. "They're actually coming, they're making friends, which is a huge thing for a lot of these kids."
Camp Dynamics is held at The Dunham School through July 30th. Registration is on a week-by-week basis. Contact Dynamic Therapy Specialists at 767-5032 or CLICK HERE.