It’s hard to believe we’re more than half-way through summer! Our camp fun continues here at ICT, where our campers spent the last two weeks learning social communication, language, sensory and motor skills with the themes Sports and Pirates.

Here’s a Recap:

Social Thinking®

Our Social Thinking® curriculum focused on two concepts, which we incorporated throughout our daily activities: 

• Group Plan, which fit well with our sports theme! Every day campers learned what it means to be part of a group, and the importance of following a “group plan” rather than their “own plan.” 

• Expected and Unexpected Behavior, which was also a great match for our pirates theme. Daily Social Thinking® lessons helped campers understand that when we use “expected behavior” (keeping our body in the group, following the group plan, listening to the teacher, etc.), others have “good” or “comfortable” thoughts about us. On the other hand, when we use “unexpected behavior” (walking away from the group, touching others, making off-topic comments, etc.), others have “strange” or “uncomfortable” thoughts about us. This learning helps campers feel motivated to use socially appropriate behavior.

Movement Activities

Movement activities including beachball baseball, balloon tennis, pirate ship swings, waking the sleeping pirate, and a variety of themed obstacle courses helped campers practice using motor skills, following directions, sequencing, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

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Crafts during weeks 5 and 6 included rackets for balloon tennis, cardboard box race cars, pirate hats and hooks, paper plate pirates, and a pirate mural — all of which incorporated following directions, sequencing, developing fine motor skills, and collaborating.

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Collaborative Play

Each morning campers enjoy facilitated free play with their friends, which allows them to use their imaginations and practice social communication. Therapists facilitate this play in a variety of ways, including encouraging campers to use expressive language, share objects and space, combine ideas, and work together to set up and clean up. 

Each afternoon, campers play a structured board game facilitated by a therapist. This encourages self-control, waiting for their turn, learning game rules and why it’s important to follow them, getting used to winning and losing, and practicing sportsmanship. In our “Big Engines” group, most campers play in pairs, which allows them to practice collaborating and compromising.

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Our weekly science lessons are a hands-on, sensory-rich way to foster important skills including following directions, sequencing, making predictions, and describing attributes. 

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Sensory Play

Shaving cream is a must! Campers used it for a sensory car race and cleaning a pirate ship. Other sensory favorites are playing with sand, beads, and other textured materials. 

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We see so many benefits from doing daily yoga with campers. Ms Jacki, who is trained in using yoga with children with special needs, helps campers increase body awareness, flexibility, coordination, and understanding of calming strategies. Returning campers are becoming more independent in using the yoga poses, and are great assistants and models for new campers!

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Other Highlights

Daily circle time continues to provide a structured environment where campers can identify how they’re feeling, ask and answer questions with peers, make predictions, wait their turn, and practice social communication skills. Campers are encouraged to use Social Thinking® and Zones of Regulation® visual supports and vocabulary. We are thrilled that many of our regular campers can now do this independently!

Older campers continue to participate in the HearBuilder Program (a computer-based program that  “provides individualized instruction in basic concepts, following directions, phonological awareness, sequencing, and auditory memory.”

We close out every week with a pizza party, generously donated by friends of ICT.

Stay tuned for more summer fun!