Summer Camps for Individuals with Autism

With the warm weather this past week I officially have spring fever! My flip flops are out and winter coats packed away. Glenwood’s campus is especially beautiful, tucked away from the road and surrounded by trees and serene lakes. The warm weather reminds us of the coming summer vacation, a child’s dream but maybe not so dreamy for parents. No worries parents, Glenwood has found several summer camps to keep your special child busy and learning this summer break. These fun and exciting camp opportunities are all around the Southeast for children, teens, adults and families with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, intellectual disabilities and other learning and behavioral disorders.  The below summer programs cover all interests, ranging from camping, horseback riding, boating, music, dancing, swimming, theater and arts and crafts.

Here is a list of summer camps in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Glenwood hopes that you find that perfect fit for your family member and if you know of other camps in the mentioned areas, please feel free to leave a comment and share!

1. Mitchell’s Place Summer Camp

Cost: $500 per session.

The Summer Program at Mitchell’s Place builds upon the principles of the After-School Social and Academic Enrichment Program (ASAP) in an expanded day format. Three 2-week sessions are offered during the summer months.  Each session runs Monday through Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Activities are designed to address basic skills of teamwork, self-esteem, and self-regulation and include indoor and outdoor games, educational activities, field trips, sports lessons, creative art and music classes, and role-playing. For more information, contact Sandy Naramore at or call (205) 957-0294.

2. Camp Merrimack Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs
$40 per child

Camp Merrimack located in Huntsville, Ala. is an arts half-day camp for children ages 3-12. It is open to children with special needs, including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, autism and others. Classes will include music, theatre, dance, and visual art. Includes a positive approach, engaging philosophy and 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio. Camp Merrimack provides students with opportunities to build social skills and creates an environment where they are sure to succeed! Classes are limited to 15 children per age group and spaces are available on a first-come, first served basis. Ages 3-7: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Ages 8-12: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, contact Hayley Smith at

3. Arts N Autism
Arts N Autism is an after school and summer camp program, available to all children with high-functioning autism, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.  It is housed at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, AL.  Arts N Autism serves children between the ages of 5-18.  Activities include: visual arts, music, social skills, integrated movement therapy (yoga) and martial arts. Contact Jan Sikes at (205)-246-6192 for more information.

4. Special Equestrians
The mission of Special Equestrians, Inc. is to provide high quality therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted activities to persons with physical, mental, developmental and emotional disabilities. Our riders are the sole focus of our program.  Their success is our goal. Summer sessions are 6 weeks at a cost of $100.  We do not, however, turn down riders due to financial difficulty.  Riders are able to apply for scholarships if needed.

Lessons typically run approximately 40 minutes in length and include a variety of activities, including warm-up, horse handling (steering, trotting, starting and stopping), and end with a trail ride or game to relax.  Most riders begin with a team of 3-4 volunteers, and some riders may progress to total independence.

5. Puzzle Piece “Creative Solutions for Creative Children”

Cost: My Camp- Dolphins and Sharks $165 per week; “Toddler Time” $30

The goal of Puzzle Piece is to develop creative solutions for each individual child. Each child is unique and Puzzle Piece’s philosophy is to embrace each child’s individual strengths and to utilize the child’s motivation to help them achieve their goals.

Join Puzzle Piece in Mountain Brook, Alabama for just Plain ‘Ole Fun at a camp for special children run by highly trained staff focused on developing social, cognitive, problem solving and sensory processing skills. There are five available sessions held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My Camp-Dolphins is held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and My Camp- Sharks is held from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. They also provide “Toddler Time” for children 2-3 years of age on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at $30 per class. For more information, call (205) 969-8080 or email

McWane Science Center

Cost: $150-$300

Join McWane Science Center for a world of exciting science adventures! McWane Science Center offers a wide variety of camps throughout the summer break. Hands on learning is great for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. While McWane’s camps aren’t specific to children with autism, they are seeing an increase in the number of campers who have an autism spectrum disorder. Camps can be either half day or full day. Click here for more information,


1. Camp Aldersgate- Kota Camps

Cost: Based on Family’s Annual Income
Camp Aldersgate’s summer camps serve children with medical, physical, and developmental challenges. The camps offer most traditional summer camp activities such as campfires and singing, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, swimming, and nature hikes. Like all kids, the campers want to try new and exciting things. With this in mind, activities have been developed that focus on creating more of a personal challenge.

Kota Camp is a camp program for campers ages 6-18 with various disabilities (primarily those not covered by a Med Camp) and his or her non-disabled sibling or friend. These camps are named for the Quapaw Native American word for “friend.” Campers with disabilities participate with a brother, sister or friend. Two six-day sessions are offered during the summer. Session I takes place from June 27-July2 and Session II take place from July 25-30.

1. Camp Caglewood
Cost: $200
Caglewood is a Special Needs Camping Program that serves individuals with developmental disabilities through active programming that provides enhanced life experiences, personal development, and respite opportunities. Caglewood fosters the core development by engaging in activities designed to promote independence and confidence. Caglewood’s programming inspires spiritual and social development through communion with nature. A camping trip with Camp Caglewood consists of counselor planned and led activities, crafts, devotionals, hiking, camping, swimming, and various forms of physical therapy and adaptive skills training.

Caglewood is designed for both children and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities including the autism spectrum, PDD, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. To ensure that our program offers superior service and personalized programs we maintain a camper to counselor ratio of 2:1. Camping and hiking trips this summer will explore Okefenokee Swamp, Stone Mountain, Unicoi and Helen and the Appalachian Trail. For more information, call (678) 405-9000 or

2. Wellspring Camp

Cost: $150-$350

Wellspring Camp is a Christian camp designed for children and adults with disabilities and special needs. Located in Jackson County, Georgia, Wellspring Camp is becoming a permanent part of a vibrant, growing community. Wellspring camp encourages participants to have a safe, enjoyable experience making friends and lasting memories. At Wellspring Camp, we offer three day camps and four overnight camps throughout the summer months. For more information, call (770) 206-0893 or


1. Camp KYSOC

Camp KYSOC, located in Carrollton, Kentucky, provides a unique camping experience for children and adults with physical or developmental disabilities including learning and behavioral disorders or eating disorders. KYSOC has accessible facilities and black-topped paths so everyone can enjoy its rustic setting and traditional camping activities including hiking, swimming, crafts, and campfires.  Camp KYSOC has day camp and resident summer camp programs, as well as respite weekends and retreat opportunities throughout the year. For more information, call (866) 357-4712 or


1. MedCamps of Louisiana

MedCamps of Louisiana holds a series of one-week, fun-filled camps each summer free of charge for children in Louisiana facing the challenges of a variety of physical and mental disabilities. These include spinal bifida, cerebral palsy, asthma, sickle cell anemia, autism, epilepsy, juvenile arthritis, visual impairment, hearing impairment, speech impairment and those developmentally disabled.

It features comfortable accommodations, scenic trails, a beautiful lake with canoes and paddleboats, and wonderful facilities including a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool. Activities include fishing, arts and crafts, softball, archery, nature hikes, music, drama, canoeing, paddleboating and swimming. All activities, which may be modified, are supervised by trained counselors. “Camp Busy Bees Retreat” is held on July 7th – July 9th (For Children and Families Living with Autism). For more information, call (318) 329-8405 or email


1. Kamp Kaleidoscope

Kamp Kaleidoscope, located in Mize, Mississippi, is an inclusive summer camp program providing summer camp fun for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The camp is attended by children diagnosed with ASD and their neuro-typical peers providing a fun and educational summer experience. Campers will enjoy activities such as music, arts and crafts, horse riding, swimming, fishing, climbing and rappelling, kamp fire, kaleidoworks, danceoscope, and kamp theater. For more information, contact  Jenny Strickland at (601) 733-0090 or email

North Carolina:

1. Camp Royall

Cost: Day Camp (9am-5pm) $400 per week; Camp Royall $750-$1,600

Camp Royall, located in Moncure, North Carolina, is designed to provide campers with a week of typical camp activities, such as swimming, hiking, music, group games, boating and arts and crafts in a structured environment. Campers are supervised closely at all times. In fact, many counselors have only one camper per week to ensure maximum attention. The primary focus of camp is to provide a structured recreational experience in a camp setting for children and adults on the autism spectrum. For more information, call (919) 542-1033.

South Carolina:

1. Camp Spearhead

Camp Spearhead serves youth and adults with special needs and disabilities. Its new state of the art facility, located in Greenville, South Carolina, is specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals with special needs, disabilities, chronic illness, and other health related challenges.  Campers will enjoy activities such as hayrides, challenge course, boating and horseback riding. For more information, call(864)288-6470 or email Mike Teachey at


1. Friends’ Discovery Camp

Cost: $130

Friends Discovery Camp is specifically designed to address the social and recreational needs of children with autism by providing helpful supports for children with autism, while offering kids without autism a unique opportunity to be buddies with a child that may be different from their other friends. The unique camp partnership between Creative Discovery Museum, Siskin Children’s Institute and UTC allows kids aged 7–10 (must have completed 1st grade) to have wild and wacky camp fun, develop socially and expand their horizons while enjoying all of the exhibits at Creative Discovery Museum and taking part in fun off-site activities. For more information, call Nancy at (423) 648-6045 or Beth at (423) 648-6040.

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