Summer Camps For Children With Special Needs

Summer camps are a rich tradition for numerous families.  There is no reason that tradition cannot apply to families who have children with special needs.  We’ve compiled a list of recommended camps provided by our many parents who are members of AbilityPath. If you would like to see us cover camps in your area or you have a camp to add to our list visit our forums on summer camps. If you are among the first 25 to post and write a review, we’ll send you a Starbucks gift card!

Here are some parent tested and recommended summer camps for children with Special Needs

Dallas Texas Area Special Needs Camps
Camp Summit is located 30 minutes from Dallas, Texas. This exceptional camp accepts individuals with disabilities both mild and severe ranging in age from 6 to 99. This includes Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. All campers enjoy traditional camp activities with a 2:1 camper to counsellor ratio.
Camp Summit offers scholarships and financial assistance for families in need. They have developed a sliding scale fee based on total family income to help all campers attend camp. Camp Summit does ask that you explore other agencies and support groups for financial support since their financial aid is limited.

CAMP (Children’s Association for Maximum Potential)
is near San Antonio, Texas. CAMP provides year-round programming for individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. They also serve the typically developing siblings of their campers in the summer and Respite Club programs. Each summer from May through August children and adults with special needs (the majority from Texas, from across the U.S., and beyond) attend week-long camping sessions and experience a real camping experience at the Guadalupe River campground.

CAMP offers scholarships to campers not funded by an agency or by full parent pay. Scholarships are offered based on family income and your IRS 2010 1040 and supporting W-2’s must be submitted. (hyperlink )

Atlanta, Georgia Area Special Needs Camps
Camp Caglewood (hyperlink ) is located in Georgia and serves individuals with developmental disabilities. They provide both day trips and weekend camping trips – sleeping in tents, cooking over a campfire, hiking, and swimming are some of the activities campers participate in.
Camp Caglewood does offer a Campership Program which may grant financial assistance to qualifying campers. (hyperlink

Camp Homer  (hyperlink ) is located in Homer, Georgia, which is one hour outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Run by a local therapy company, this day camp serves a wide range of children age four to 12 with special. Camp Homer offers a variety of camp activities along with private therapy (physical, occupational and speech) during camp hours.
Camp Homer can also direct families to possible scholarship opportunities. For more information email them at or call (770) 844-0206.

New York Area Camps
Southhampton Fresh Air Camp is located in Southhampton, New York. The Southampton Fresh Air Home provides a camping experience for children ages 8 to 18 that have physical challenges, including but not limited to cerebral palsy and developmental delays. Camp activities include basketball and sailing.  Adaptive equipment is available for campers.

Southhampton Fresh Air Camp is a not-for-profit organization and scholarships are available for families in need. Determination of scholarships is considered based on family income and family size as well as other factors such as recent job loss, extraordinary expenses for housing, medical care, or rehabilitation. Contact David Billingham at 631 283-1594 or  for more information.

92nd Street Y
 in New York City offers two camps for children with special needs ages five to 13. Camp Tova is for children with learning and developmental disabilities. This camp includes activities such as swimming, sports, nature, art and field trips in a small group setting (4:1 camper to staff ratio). Camp Tova Counselors and specialists have a background in special education and are committed to providing each child with a positive and rewarding summer experience.

Camp Bari Tova is for children with severe developmental disabilities that require a 1:1 aide. They experience the same summer camp experience as Camp Tova with an experienced 1:1 aide.

Chicago, Illinois Area Special Needs Camps

Camp New Hope is located in Mattoon, Illinois. They accommodate individuals with developmental disabilities ages 8 up to adulthood. Camp New Hope is wheelchair-friendly and has activities like mini-golf, fishing and swimming.
Financial Aid Information is available for families in need.

Chicago Bears Football Camp is a FREE interactive camp for children with special needs ages 6 to 18. This camp, an hour outside of Chicago, allows campers to experience firsthand the sport of football with instruction and skill development. Special appearances by the players, coaches and the mascots may happen at this one day sports camp. Participants will also be given complimentary seats to watch the Chicago Bears practice before the camp begins.

Other Special Needs Camps in the United States with multiple locations:

Easter Seals:Camping and Recreation

Surfers Healing