Day Camp for Children with HFA Provides Structure, Fun, Friendship, and Social-Coping Skills

Bryn Mawr, PA  --  Summer vacation can be a harrowing time for the child and family touched by Autism. Although parents and children depend on them, mainstream camps are sometimes a source of stress with young, undertrained staff, inconsistent structure, frequent changes in routine. Battles over video games and smart phone usage are unwanted summer passtimes. Camp avoidance, meltdowns, or expulsions from camps are the most painful challenges of all. There is a solution for summer structure and fun nestled 10 minutes west of Philadelphia.

Camp Pegasus provides social-emotional developmental experiences in a structured therapeutic day camp setting. The camp addresses social and self-regulation challenges but is specifically designed to help children with social cognitive deficits (High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and learning differences). 

The camp merges best-practice social skills and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, Art and Music Therapy, the behavior modification program, social coaching, and success-oriented summer camp activities. Activities include sports, archery, gaga, circus arts, indoor playroom, computer gaming, digital photography and editing. An elective period caps each day, with campers selecting a preferred activity to “major” in in one-week blocks.

Camp Pegasus aims to advance campers’ social competency while building self-esteem through social, physical and creative activities with peers. An “aggressively positive” positive behavior support system provides structure and encourages practice of their newly acquired social skills. Compassionate social coaching helps to navigate and improve interactions. Self-regulation is emphasized throughout and a variety of calming down options and spaces are available. 

Experienced, masters-level therapists provide daily instruction in social-emotional coping skills such as:

  • Thinking through social situations and responding appropriately
  • Reading social cues to understand and predict others’ needs
  • Making friends: eye contact, conversational skills, sharing, taking turns
  • Communicating feelings and needs in the moment assertively
  • Flexibility and compromise with friends 
  • Solving problems and disagreements
  • Managing anger, frustration, and keeping out of fights
  • Recognizing & controlling impulses 
  • Handling frustration & developing self-control
  • Coping with stress and anxiety
  • Initiating play and conversation
  • Following rules in classes, sports, and other social situations 
  • Transitioning between activities

 

Camp Pegasus provides Extended School Year (ESY) social skills services to many area school districts. These ESY services are negotiated between the public school district and the camper's family, separate from Camp Pegasus.

The typical Camp Pegasus camper is intelligent, socially motivated, verbal, and free from any safety issues (aggression, self-harm, elopement). Girls and boys who have minimally completed kindergarten AND are between 6-16 years old by the beginning of camp are eligible to attend. Camp Pegasus specializes in helping kids both WITHOUT - and WITH - a formal diagnosis of High Functioning Autism (formerly Asperger's Syndrome), ADHD, learning differences, and anxiety. Students with an aide at school must attend the program with an aide. 

Camp Pegasus and its sibling, The Art of Friendship Social-Coping Program are both under the direction of founder, Mike Fogel. Additional information about the Camp Pegasus can be found on the web, at www.CampPegasus.com. If you have any questions or needs please contact Aviva Moore, at (610) 649-1080 x3, or at [email protected].