A Special Place for Kids with ADHD

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Summary & Participants

For kids with ADHD, transitioning from summer freedom to school structure can be tough. But one summer camp teaches children how to work and play in any environment.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2009

Webcast Transcript

NARRATOR: For the kids at this camp, summer means more than just playing sports, making crafts and meeting new friends.

DR. KAREN FLEISS: The NYU summer program is specifically set up and designed to meet the needs of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

NARRATOR: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, have trouble making friends and following directions, so traditional camp setting do not always have the tools to deal with these children.

For parents like Sandra Birkhold, that can mean summer stress for both her and her son.

SANDRA BIRKHOLD: They didn't have the positive influence that he requires and, over time, we got thrown out of camps, we got asked to leave because the behavior was very disruptive not only to him but to the other children in his camp.

NARRATOR: The New York University Summer Program, however, is different. Here, specially-trained counselors work with the children to teach them important skills.

DR. KAREN FLEISS: It is very structured, there's a lot of routine, a lot of repetition. There's a real emphasis on helping children to develop the skills that they don't have. For example, there's a big push to help them develop social skills.

NARRATOR: Parents, too, learn the skills they need to help their children after the camp day is over.

DR. KAREN FLEISS: We teach the parents not only effective behavior strategies, but also how to use rewards and consequences effectively and how to really understand the needs of children with ADHD and how best to parent them.

NARRATOR: One of the most important lessons is how to stay positive.

SANDRA BIRKHOLD: His actions are not there because he's naughty, it's there because that's the way he is and how to get through to him that there are ways to overcome that and overcome your own anger, your management and your behavior.

NARRATOR: Parents also learn how to help their children once camp is over and school begins.

DR. KAREN FLEISS: If a child is having trouble remembering to bring his homework home or he's being disruptive in the class, parents can use some of what they've been taught in our parent training sessions, like setting up a daily report card, to target specific behaviors for the teacher to use in the school setting

NARRATOR: Most importantly, the lessons learned in camp seem to have a lasting impact.

SANDRA BIRKHOLD: We've made huge, huge strides in the right direction and I'm only hoping that we can carry them through.

NARRATOR: Experts recommend that if your child has ADHD, make sure you educate yourself about the disease, so you can be the best parent possible.

SANDRA BIRKHOLD: As long as you don't know what you're dealing with, the tools that you have are not going to work. And, if you have the right tools, you can work through it.