Unlocking Autism Inclusion at Camp
Season 2, Episode 10
This episode is wild, SKY WILD. (This is 100% pulled from the episode.)
Host Jack Schott is joined by Camp Sky Wild's Erin Ross and Maggie Mitchell (see, wild) to talk about camp for children with autism. They discuss different approaches to planning and front-loading for campers who are neurodivergent and share how all campers can benefit from these practices.
Erin kicks it off with 3 simple takeaways about working with people with autism at the beginning , specifically the power of having visuals. Then they get into simple solutions and "duh" moments that are applicable for all camps to run smarter not harder when it comes to planning camp for kids. Just wait until you hear what WAIT stands for.
If you're looking for a new mindset regarding camper based decisions and designing a camp for all, this is the pod for you.
Producer EmJ's Takeaways:
- "Written words last longer." I love this. There are many different learning styles and when camp tries not to be school, it can mean not having these routes available. "Lame" - EmJ
- Diagnosis can be helpful, but that doesn't mean a person will fit the mold for their diagnosis. They're a person, they're going to be unique.
- Camps should utilize Opt-Out spaces. They're so great.
Want more from Maggie and Erin?
Check out their upcoming seminar, "A Spectrum of Needs: Setting Campers with Autism Up for Success" on November 13th.
- Sky Wild Camp!
Erin Ross, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Erin Ross is a camp director and consultant from San Diego, California. Erin began her camp career in 2008 while in college and never looked back. After working a few years at YMCA Camp Marston's outdoor education program and Dragonfly Forest, a Pennsylvania summer camp for children with autism and medical conditions, Erin realized she had a passion for providing camp experiences to kids who often are excluded from typical kid experiences. Erin has been a director at Camp Tall Tree, a Michigan camp for children and adults with autism and their siblings, since 2014. It was her experiences at Dragonfly Forest and Camp Tall Tree that led Erin to pursue a masters degree in autism and behavior analysis. She is passionate about increasing happiness, independence, and quality of life by bringing typical camp experiences to people who think and learn in different kinds of ways. She took a break from her career in direct therapy when her daughter was born in 2022, and now works from her home in Michigan in talent acquisition and marketing so she can enjoy her new role as “Mama”. When not running around in a costume or singing songs at summer camp, you can find Erin consulting and training around the country for camps and youth development programs.