The Help Group’s Kids Like Me Program, which provides after-school classes, clubs, camps, weekend social and family activities for children and teens with autism and other challenges, has created two summer camp programs to address the unique needs of this population. Teens on the Go is a fun and exciting social skills camp that takes participants on daily trips and adventures around Los Angeles. This summer, Teens on the Go Travel Camp featured a 6-day, 5-night trip to Seattle. Both camps, which serve teens ages 13 to 17, are led by highly-trained professionals and are designed to foster peer interaction, communication, and friendship-building.
The Teens on the Go program has a strong emphasis on social development and gaining a greater sense of independence for teens with autism spectrum disorder. The travel camp program strives to increase social awareness through the curriculum on each of these trips. This summer, seven teens with autism spectrum disorders participated in a 6 day/5 night trip to Seattle. On the Seattle trip and other similar trips, the teens are challenged to address many different skills, such as independent living skills, social skills and understanding cultural diversity while in other cities.
Some of the highlights from the Seattle trip included The Seattle Space Needle, The EMP Museum, and a free concert in the Space Needle Park as a tribute to The Beatles 50th Anniversary of their last concert.
“These trips are designed to challenge our teens to learn new things and immerse themselves in a different city they typically would not,” says Nicole Webb, Program Director Kids Like Me. “Many of our teens struggle to learn essential skills that contribute to their independence while in their home or school environments. Items, such as electronics, just distract our teens from being involved socially with others or to really take in a beautiful city like Seattle. We encouraged our teens to ‘unplug’ and to take in the city we were exploring without the distractions, which they all did seamlessly.”