Summer Camps for the Hearing Impaired

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For kids of all ages, summer vacation is a time to get away from the routine, take part in new activities, learn new skills and make new friends. What better way to do all of this than with summer camp? No matter a child’s hearing ability, summer camp can provide a wealth of opportunities to grow, learn and achieve.

Whether you’re considering a summer camp for the hearing impaired or a summer camp in your community that you would like to make sure meets your hearing impaired child’s needs for fun and enrichment, the good news is there are plenty of options. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), more than 14,000 day and resident camps exist in the U.S. 8,400 are resident (overnight) and 5,600 are day camps. In addition, 44% of camps offer specialized programs for individuals with disabilities. That is a lot of possibilities!

Summer Camps Designed Around Hearing Loss

Summer camps for the hearing impaired can be found nationwide and are designed specifically to meet the unique needs of these children without sacrificing an ounce of the traditional camp experience. A wide variety of these specialized camps is available to choose from depending on your child’s or family’s interests. Camps designed around hearing loss also stand apart from standard camps in several ways:

  • Highly trained staff – Not only do staff go through extensive training to best work with hearing impaired campers, but most staff are also part of the deaf or hearing impaired community. This unique perspective and insight can help kids better navigate the experience and their hearing loss. In many cases, staff members are former campers themselves who have chosen to return again and again as a member of the summer camp community.
  • Visual Cues – In camps for the hearing impaired, visual cues such as flashlights and flags are often used to communicate with campers and keep the fun moving along. These cues aren’t the exception as they would be in other camps, but the rule to keep kids engaged and involved.
  • Community – Families that opt for these specialized camps for their children often see the sense of community as a driving factor. The hearing impaired community that is central to these camps creates a safe space for kids of all hearing abilities to communicate, learn and grow with support from understanding peers and staff.

There are many summer camps that are designed around those with hearing loss. These hearing impaired summer camp resources can get your started. Be sure to ask questions such as communication preferences supported at the camp (ASL, spoken language, cues, etc.) and what percentage of the staff has hearing loss. In addition to inquiries about activities, programs and camp goals, these questions can help you find the best camp for your child.

Traditional Summer Camps

Summer camps for the hearing impaired may not always be an option or a preference for families, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the experience altogether. Asking the right questions before enrolling your child can make all the difference! As with any summer camp experience ask about the program, activities and any special areas of focus the camp may offer. Finding a camp that connects with your child’s interests can help keep them engaged and excited about the experience. In addition to these questions, discuss how the program may work for your hearing impaired child. Are there visual cues available? Is the staff able to work with your child’s communication needs and preferences? Are there any activities that may not work well for your child? Most camps are excited to welcome kids of all hearing abilities and are ready to work closely with families to make everyone’s experience a positive one.
Finding a summer camp for the hearing impaired is about asking the right questions to find the best fit for you and your family. Give your child the gift of growth, learning and achievement this summer with a trip to camp!



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