"Camp Soaring Eagle Training Manual"
Summer 2009 Training will consist of several different parts. Overview of assignments related to the courses in which you are enrolled Overview of camp/campers/activities Counselor Strategies Thank you for participating in this year’s Camp Soaring Eagle. Please note that students who have participated in camp in past semesters have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the camp experience and campers and their families have truly benefitted from UMW’s involvement. Think you don’t need to experience this type of training? We bet you’ll reconsider this idea at the end of camp. It is a wonderful way for teachers to experience kids with disabilities without the pressures of SOLs or large classrooms and to see them working on different skills such as social skills. Everyone, whether you already have a degree in Special Ed (or a Ph.D. even), learns more from working with the children at camp! Because children with disabilities are all different, the more exposure and opportunities you give yourself to work with these kids, the better teacher you will be for all students! We can all learn from each other throughout this experience. Designed for kids with disabilities whose parents are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. UMW students design and run the camp using play-based approaches. A low counselor to camper ratio allows children (ages 4-13) to enjoy a positive camp experience that is developed with their individual special needs in mind. Camp is a great way to do a practical assignment over the summer! Why be stuck inside doing homework when you can have fun working with kids! EDSE 531 - students will be observing and working with children with a variety of disabilities as discussed in the course. Camp provides you with some training in working with children who have various needs and the opportunity to observe various accommodations/modifications. You will complete your assignment based on your volunteer hours at camp. ITEC 531 - students will use the opportunity to observe and work with children with a variety of disabilities and complete an assignment where they discuss, design, and evaluate appropriate assistive technology (no tech, low and high) that would support these children in camp, school, and other settings. I learned so much from this experience. I was scared to work with kids with disabilities at first, but this was a great way to learn they are a lot like other kids. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with kids I wouldn’t normally have in class. I am a better teacher because of this experience. Please, please keep Camp Soaring Eagle going every year. Camp Soaring Eagle was the highlight of my training in special education at UMW. You mean he really can come back? My son made a friend. I have to get that kid’s phone number. This has been such a positive experience for my child. I had no problem leaving my child. You can tell the program is run by professionals. This is the only camp my child has been able to be successful in. Thank you! E-w-w, we loved the bugs. Can I do this all summer? My favorite part was my counselor. We’re all friends here. Visual impairments Cerebral Palsy Autism Developmental Delay ADHD/ADD Reading difficulties Intellectual Disabilities Speech/language impairments To practice: Social skills Communication skills Play skills Attention skills Using a play-based approach (modified Floortime strategy). It’s summer, so we’re going to stop the academic focus and work on the communication skills which support all areas of a child’s life. Now let’s discuss how all of this is accomplished through various camp roles. ◦ Camp Coordinators ◦ Cart Volunteers ◦ UMW CGPS Students ◦ Campers ◦ EFMP folks ◦ Marines Develop, plan, and coordinate camp activities and requirements (this begins in January!). Supervise check-in/check-out process and liaison with parents. Supervise use of elementary school and maintain positive relationship with summer school principal. Open the school. Survey rooms for safety. Do final checks at the end of the day before closing down school. Supervise counselor and camp activities. Inform counselors of any changes made to daily schedule. Coordinate with EFMP Coordinators and Quantico Elementary School for physical requirements for the camp. Liaison with other outside agencies as required. Cart volunteers will be rotating to present a structured activity in music, art, science, and reading circle for the campers. Every classroom will have the opportunity to participate in each cart activity (music, art, science, reading) throughout the morning schedule. The activity cart schedule will be given to all the counselors in advance. Counselors will clean up the classroom after the activity as volunteers will be rotating to other classrooms. There are of course, some rules for campers AND counselors… First and foremost - make it FUN! Know your campers – who they are and what type of support they need. Ensure the safety of the campers at all times. Be flexible – adapt and improvise. Keep the lines of communication flowing (with other counselors/staff as well as with the campers). Watch and listen – teachable moments abound! If in doubt, ASK FOR ASSISTANCE! Did we mention to make it FUN? Attire is important. Volunteers represent UMW. You will need to maintain a professional appearance and be nicely groomed. No tight pants, tight jeans, or short/tight shorts. You are allowed to wear shorts, but please wear walking shorts (close to the knees). Please no jeans with holes in them. No baseball caps. No flip- flops/sandals. You will be bending over working with campers-make sure no undergarments can be viewed. Wear sneakers, dress comfortably, but be covered and clean! It is necessary that parents feel comfortable leaving their children with you and what you wear is important. Wear your camp t-shirt daily. The safety and well-being of your campers is your paramount responsibility. What a person has not who a person is. Use People First Language always. Respect the confidentiality of campers at all times! Be discrete. ◦ Do not discuss any issues involving the campers in front of other campers or parents. ◦ Do not discuss any camp issues outside of camp hours. ◦ Make sure you have two Counselors in the classrooms at all times. Counselors should remain with the group and in the classroom/location. Use any free time you may have to collaborate/plan with the members of your classroom. Counselors stand outside the door of the bathroom as children use the restroom. In the event that there is a child who needs assistance, call on the coordinators for help. Notify a coordinator of any crisis or emergency in your class (medical/behavioral). Be positive and encouraging! Never physically restrain a child. If there is an issue where a child might hurt him/herself or others, immediately call a coordinator and remove the OTHER students from the activity. By removing the reinforcement of other children (audience), the agitated child will often settle down. Remember to communicate with the other counselors in your classroom. Talk about what is going on and any concerns that you may have. Counselors interacting 1:1 with kids encouraging them to interact with other counselors, toys, and campers! Counselors sitting around or talking and watching the kids do stuff on their own. We want you interacting the entire day with the kids (you should be EXHAUSTED from all of the talking!) Counselor Rules from Ashurst Elementary Principal NOTHING ON WALLS! No children/staff behind the stage. Counselors must wear badges. Bring in ID card and use lanyard. Do NOT give Ashurst Elementary School number out to parents to call. Have EFMP give their cell phone number. Can use hallway bathroom. No use of Room 12 or 16. No children in room 17 except for when doing computer activity. No use of phone in office. If you need to make a phone call, use your cell at our counselor station. Tables in room and bathroom must be cleaned at the end of each day. Put trash out for janitor. There are particular doors that they would like use to use (the back and side door) so we are not creating traffic near the office. All counselors meet to coordinate daily activities and resources at 7 a.m. before the campers arrive. Review activity schedule for the day – ensure that materials are in place. Greet your campers with a smile upon their arrival. Have warm-up activities in place. Execute the daily schedule – and adapt and improvise as needed! Ensure that your campers have found their ride home. Share three good things about each camper with the parents. Parents of kids with disabilities NEED positive feedback about their kids! Prepare your classroom for the next day before you leave. Eat a good breakfast because you will be very active this week and it will help put you into a positive mood and give you the added energy you will need! Wear comfortable clothing and shoes (camp t- shirts are provided). You will be active and you will get dirty! Use visual schedules as needed. Present the projects in a manner that will accommodate your campers – think, auditory, visual, and tactile. Have samples of various crafts for viewing. Vary/modify the project to fit the camper’s special needs or desires as needed. Prepare the campers for transitions: “In five minutes we’ll be going to the gym…”. Don’t forget bathroom breaks for the campers. Plan breaks for the counselors in your classroom too, if needed. Present information both visually and orally. Explain, then check for understanding (ask questions); re-explain if necessary. “Chunk” the information (break it into manageable pieces). Have a few activities available for campers who finish early. We will use a positive behavioral system. Lots of praise, high fives, etc. Kids with disabilities need to hear this so much more than the average child. In the event that a child is misbehaving, make sure that you have given clear expectations that you clarify that the child understands, then use a three warning system (except for aggressive behavior) in which on the third offense, the child takes a time- out. We find that the majority of behavioral issues are actually unaddressed sensory issues (either overstimulation, or under stimulation). Use the SECRET Strategy to determine if this issue is sensory. A=Attention. Is there a way to draw the student’s attention AWAY from their anxiety? S=Sensation. Is there a sensation that is alarming to the student? If so, how can it be modified? Can I use another sensation to override it? E=Emotion. What emotion is the student experiencing and what techniques do I know that work best when they feel this way? C=Culture. What part of the school culture can be changed to avoid situations like this in the future? R=Relationship. Is there something in the student’s relationship with me or someone else right now that’s causing them to act this way? What can I do about it? E=Environment. What in the environment is setting my student off? How can I change it? T=Task. What is troubling my student about the task at hand? How can the task be modified to not be so problematic for the child? Is there another task I can sub in that will provide a calming influence? Ask the camper if they would like to meet the dog. If they do, walk over to see him with your camper. Let the campers know that the dogs are visiting them at camp because they love kids and they have attended other camps before. Ask your camper if they would like to pet the dogs or give them a treat (handler will have treats). If a camper seems hesitant about approaching the dogs, try to talk to them about a pet they love or just stay where they can watch the dogs interacting with the other kids. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for some children to feel comfortable. If a camper says that they are afraid or do not want to pet a dog, that’s okay too. Have the camper just watch the other kids interacting and talk to them about what they are observing (ex: “Look at the dog’s white coat” or “see Sally feeding him a treat….he must be hungry”). Remind the campers to pet the dogs gently. No grabbing or pulling, etc. Some campers may find it helpful to be shown how to pet, brush, feed a treat (the handler will assist with demonstrations too). A parent has a concern about animal therapy dogs visiting at camp: Reassure the parent that the dogs have been working as volunteers for a long time and have worked at camps, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice houses, and private homes. The dogs have worked with kids, teens, seniors, the terminally ill, and all types of disabilities. The dogs are trained and certified therapy dogs. If a question/concern comes up that you are not sure about, ask the dog’s handler to speak to that parent or ask a coordinator. If a camper is fearful of dogs, they do not have to participate and they can watch the activity at a comfortable distance. A play-based educational approach, which incorporates the use of toys and other highly motivating objects to help children attend, communicate and participate. Developed by Stanley Greenspan, Floortime is the result of studying typically developing children and has been adapted to use with children with communication difficulties, such as speech disabilities, developmental delays, ADHD, and Autism. Follow the child’s lead. Do what is interesting to him/her but work hard to be exciting to the child. Make him/her want to talk with you, be near you, etc. Help extend their conversation or their stories with prompts. Such as: Oh, where would your fireman go? Which do you want? Can you give me more? If they are playing with another child and the play goes flat, help them. “Oh, Johnny, do you think we should see if Sarah wants the bus to stop and pick her up? Sarah where is the bus taking you?” No matter what, YOU keep talking. Describe, show, explain, give choices, etc. If the student isn’t paying attention to you either change toys OR do something sensory (walk, bubbles, stomp rockets, etc.) During Free Play… We will provide activities for the children to choose from. Stay with the child. Focus on communication b/n children and b/n you and the child. Encourage attention and communication (gestures, signs, pointing, PECS, words, sentences, etc.) As a reminder, Counselors should be working 1:1 with kids, not standing watching. This may be the MOST important part of their day at camp! Please read the document about Floortime/play based activities information provided before camp to better prepare yourself to work with the kids. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next section includes solutions to sample difficulties which you may encounter at camp… A camper feels ill: Try to determine what’s wrong. Try to redirect the camper to take their mind off the problem. Make the camper as comfortable as possible. Is there something in the classroom that is causing the discomfort (noise/sounds/smells)? Try to remove the source if possible. Improvise to help the camper cope and participate as fully as they can. Escort the child to the nurse. Notify a coordinator if the illness seems serious. A camper (or counselor) gets hurt: Do not take any chances with an injury. Have a coordinator/counselor take the camper to the military medical staff. Complete an incident form. If the injury affects the campers’ ability to walk or maintain balance, do not try to move the camper. Have the injured camper remain seated and immediately send a counselor to get the nurse and then notify a coordinator. A camper arrives after having a rough night: Try to get the camper involved in an activity to take their mind off of the problem. De-escalate the situation by trying to redirect the camper to participate in the activity at hand. Try not to reinforce the negative feelings by talking about it too much. Try to keep the camper moving towards participating and having fun! Clarify behavioral expectations. Take a walk to burn off any extra energy/anxiety. Allow the camper some free activity time to settle down, or involve the camper in helping a younger group for a few minutes (sometimes helping others takes the focus off of the camper). Notify a coordinator if you cannot persuade the camper to participate in some way. A disability prevents full participation: Emphasize the camper’s strengths and abilities! Be creative if an activity needs to be adapted. Assist the camper in participating as fully as they can by modifying the parts of the activity that they are struggling with. This is a good time for offering a choice – ask the camper about the type of support they feel they need. Offer a suggestion if they are struggling. A camper misses their parent: Try to redirect the camper with an activity, book, or toy. Work hard to get them involved with the group activity! Have the camper write a note/draw a picture for Mom and Dad to see when come back to pick up. Ask parents for a digital picture that their child can keep with them. A parent won’t leave: Reassure the parent of their child’s well-being at the camp. Explain that the majority of the camp counselors are seasoned teachers – and parents themselves. Empathize: “I have young children and understand how hard it is to let go sometimes.” Share the schedule with the parent, so they can feel comfortable knowing their child will be having fun. If a parent continues having difficulty, tell them that a coordinator can touch base and offer an update for them to alleviate their fears/concerns. Get parent’s cell phone number. A short visit to the class may alleviate their concerns on the first day of camp, but try to use the other suggestions first. It would be difficult to accommodate every parent in this way and this often upsets other campers. Contact a coordinator for assistance if needed. You see bullying occurring: Be responsive. Take the appropriate steps to intervene. Get assistance if you need it. Stop and listen to the affected child. Take complaints of bullying seriously. Restate the behavior expectations to all involved. Notify the coordinators if additional guidance is needed. A camper asks why something/someone looks different: Explain the difference to the camper in understandable terms (ex. “John can’t hear as well as you or I can. His hearing aid helps him to hear like us” or Susan hasn’t learned to talk yet, but she can answer us with her pictures.” Explain that people can be different/unique and that it is okay. Encourage campers to learn more about them, be kind to them, and to include them in their activities. Have them ”walk in their shoes”. Every person is unique and each one of us has individual needs and abilities. Use examples campers can relate to: some people are tall and some are short; some people have dark skin and some have light skin. They use a wheelchair to get around. Remind the campers that EVERYONE likes to be included, accepted and liked. A camper says “I hate this”: This almost always means that the child is stumped or frustrated – find the source for this. Take the time to work with them 1:1. If the task is too hard/easy, find an alternate activity or see if they can work with another camper. Flexible + fun