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New Summer Camp Launches For Kids With Autism And ADHD

It’s the season of summer camps, but kids with autism or ADHD are often left out because of behavior issues. But next week, they’ll get have another option, through a joint program between UW Autism Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

UW’s Apex Summer Camp , a day program for children with autism, is collaborating with Seattle Children’s newly created Camp Sea STAR for kids with ADHD.

It’s going to look like a typical camp, but more structured, said Dr. Mark Stein who’s leading Camp Sea STAR. He said this camp provides treatment for kids as well as recreation. It uses sports and creative exercises to help them learn new social skills in camp and beyond.

“A big part of it is how to interact with other peers, but also how to interact with adults, how to follow directions, which for children with ADHD is a big problem,” Stein said. “Many children with ADHD have difficulty not just with following directions but also, for example, listening to authority figures like teachers and parents.”

Parents won’t just drop off their kids at camp — they’re expected to participate, too. They’ll also get their own training sessions.

Stein said the general goal is for kids who’ve struggled with structured activities to have some success experiences. “The overarching goal is for their parents to see them succeed and for them to learn the skills that are appropriate.”

Stein led a similar program for six years in Chicago. There are 15 other programs like this around the country.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said this was the first camp of its kind in the Seattle area. Ryther's Aspiring Youth Program offers a similar program. In addition, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Dr. Mark Stein’s involvement in the program. He is leading Camp Sea STAR, not the entire program.

Year started with KUOW: 1994