Summer Programs for Triangle Kids With ADHD
Both day and overnight options
Photo courtesy of Kim-Lan Grout
In the Triangle and across the state, camps, schools and community centers are offering summer programs designed to help children and teenagers who have attention deficient hyperactivity disorder build confidence, increase social skills and have healthy fun this summer. Here are some programs to consider.
Summer Day Programs in the Triangle
Hill Learning Center
3200 Pickett Rd., Durham
Hill Learning Center is a school and tutoring facility that runs two half-day, five-week summer programs — one for kindergarten through rising sixth-grade students, and one for seventh through 10th-grade students. Participants need not be Hill Learning Center students during the academic year and do not require a formal ADHD or learning disability diagnosis. These programs are academic in focus, offering opportunities to develop social skills built into the curriculum. ADHD is accommodated through individualized instruction, multisensory teaching, and classroom tools designed with attention and learning differences in mind. Instructors are Hill Learning Center faculty and teachers from area schools, all of whom have extensive training in supporting students with attention and learning differences. Neither summer program assigns homework.
Lower School Program
• For: Kindergarteners through rising sixth‑graders
• Dates/times: June 24-July 26; 8:30‑11:30 a.m.
• Location: Hill Learning Center in Durham and Ravenscroft School in Raleigh
• Activities: Individualized instruction in reading, writing and math
• Class size: Four students
Middle and Upper School Program
• For: Rising seventh- through 10th-graders
• Dates/times: June 24-July 26; 1-4 p.m.
• Location: Hill Learning Center in Durham
• Activities: Individualized academic support in reading, writing, math and executive function skills
• Class size: Five students
Levin Jewish Community Center
1937 West Cornwallis Rd., Durham
Camp Shelanu, a full-day camp at the Levin Jewish Community Center, has embraced inclusion as a core value. Fifteen percent of the campers at Camp Shelanu have physical, mental or behavioral challenges. In recent years, the camp has had a particularly high number of neurodivergent participants, including campers with autism, ADHD and sensory-processing challenges. The Levin Jewish Community Center designs all of its camp activities to be flexible in order to accommodate children with a variety of different needs. Campers with special needs are incorporated into the general programming rather than given their own track. For campers with ADHD, this approach can mean that the camp provides portable schedules that campers can carry with them; that counselors use visual, as well as audible, directions and signals; that campers are given notice when transitions are going to take place — the accommodations depend on what the children in question might need. The Levin Jewish Community Center hires and trains general counselors with inclusivity as an emphasis, and it also hires and trains inclusion counselors to accommodate kids with special needs.
• For: Rising kindergarten through eighth‑graders.
• Dates/times: Weekly sessions from June-Aug., 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; extended hours are available. (Registration for Camp Shelanu’s 2019 summer inclusion program has closed. Interested participants may add their names to a waitlist for 2019 and be notified about 2020 camps.)
• Location: Levin Jewish Community Center
• Activities: These depend on the program. The Levin Jewish Community Center offers a traditional camp program (swimming, games, crafts, etc.), and it also offers specific camps oriented around Legos, engineering, sports, nature exploration and other themes.
The Trilogy School
3810 Merton Dr., Raleigh
The Trilogy School’s five-week, half-day summer academic program offers reading, writing and math classes designed to support students’ school-year work. Summer participants need not be Trilogy School students, and they do not require a formal ADHD or LD diagnosis. Instructors in the summer program are Trilogy school teachers and teachers from other local schools with either master’s degrees in special education, or extensive experience working with students with ADHD and other learning differences. The program accommodates ADHD students with small class sizes that allow instructors to meet individual student needs. Trilogy emphasizes a low-stress approach to work and offers frequent movement breaks. The summer program does not assign homework.
• For: Rising first- through eighth-graders
• Dates/times: July 1-Aug. 2; 8:30-11:30 a.m.
• Location: The Trilogy School
• Activities: Academic instruction in reading, writing and math
• Class size: Four or five students
Wynns Family Psychiatry and Psychology
130 Preston Executive Dr., Ste. 202, Cary
9207 Baileywick Rd., Ste. 203, Raleigh
Wynns Family Psychiatry and Psychology specializes in helping children, teenagers and families overcome attention and psychological challenges through individual therapy and group work. In the summer, the practice offers week-long, half-day camps focused on building social skills for different age groups. They also offer camps that emphasize building study skills and developing stress management techniques. Campers often have ADHD, high-functioning autism, anxiety or other challenges, but they do not need a formal diagnosis to participate, nor do they need to be clients. The camp staff consists of psychologists with doctoral degrees or therapists with master’s degrees. The staff-to-camper ratio is approximately 1:4. Participants work on developing a wide variety of social skills — everything from managing anger to making friends to participating in small talk, depending on the focus of the group and the needs of the campers. Activities include role-playing, discussion, videos, crafts, games, practice time and other activities designed to teach social skills. Some camps also include social activities like bowling and mini-golf, or creative challenges involving art or writing.
• For: Rising first- through 12th-graders
• Dates/times: Camps meet for five days at a time from 9 a.m.-noon. Dates vary depending on the program. Extended hours are available.
• Location: The Cary and Raleigh campuses of Wynns Family Psychiatry and Psychology
• Activities: Social skills-building
Overnight ADHD Summer Camps in North Carolina
Looking for a camping experience farther afield? Two overnight summer camps in North Carolina are designed specifically for kids with ADHD.
226 Soar Lane, Balsam
SOAR offers a variety of wilderness adventure camps, designed for kids with ADHD and learning disabilities. In North Carolina, SOAR offers programs focused on horseback riding, canoeing, backpacking and llama trekking (in which each
camper cares for an assigned llama that carries his or her gear on treks). Campers generally sleep in tents. Programs are offered throughout the summer and differ in duration.
Talisman Summer Camps
64 Gap Creek Rd., Zirconia
Talisman offers summer camps for kids with autism, ADHD and other sensory processing challenges. It includes a camp that is designed specifically for kids with ADHD and executive function challenges to train kids in social skills, goal completion and making connections between choices and results. Camp activities include swimming, hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, technical tree climbing and other outdoor adventures. Programs are offered in six-, 13- and 17-day sessions.
Elizabeth Brignac is a freelance writer and mother of two adventurous boys. She lives in Cary.