Optimal Rhythms' CAN-Do Camp is unique in that it provides a true summer day camp experience for students, ages 5-24, with complex communication and sensory-motor challenges that require a level of specialized support (1:1) not available at other youth camp programs.
Due to the overwhelming success and improved accessibility of our innovative virtual camp model, we will be offering our CAN-DO CAMP [HOME EDITION] again this summer. The benefits of including family members (parents, caregivers, communication/regulation partners) in the camp experience have included: increased understanding of the camper, improved communication, improved confidence and interactions, co-regulation skills, and more! These successes and the feedback shared since our pivot in 2020 deem it worthy of maintaining this unique opportunity for families again this summer.
CAN-Do CAMP 2023 [HOME EDITION] provides students with autism, and other sensory-motor differences, opportunities for age-appropriate camp experiences, along with the proven therapeutic supports that ACCESS Academy is known for. This camp adds a unique Home Edition Camp Coach that offers individualized support, encouragement, and therapeutic skill-building in the home environment as each family tunes in to CAN-Do Camp, via Zoom!
Each camper will enjoy knowing his/her strengths are the focus, while receiving the supports necessary to experience success. Parents and Caregivers will receive demonstrations and coaching to implement individualized supports with their camper, while participating in exciting theme-based learning each day they attend. Four (4) themed camp weeks will be held 9:00AM - 12:00PM CST (JUNIOR CAMP) and 1:00PM - 4:00PM CST (SENIOR CAMP) on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays each week. Because this CAN-Do Camp [HOME EDITION] includes family/caregiver training and is provided VIRTUALLY, we require one or more parents and/or caregivers to commit to attending WITH each camper,
This is AMAZING to see the interaction, learning, and skill-building that happens each day in the home.
We love seeing the smiles as the confidence grows from day to day. Thank you to our 2022 CAN-Do Camp Families!! We hope you are keeping those CAN-Do Attitudes!!
We look forward to seeing our 2023 campers and families soon!
Listen to Parent Testimonials Below
Dear Optimal Rhythms,
Last summer, I was pleased to be able to partake in parent training offered by Optimal Rhythms. It helped me to better understand my daughter and how her brain, emotions and body operate. The Family and Caregiver Training sessions that were put on by Optimal Rhythms, in collaboration with Integrative Music Therapy, were informative, educational and much needed for me. I have spent a lot of years drenched in guilt and frustration, mostly because I had professionals tell me what my daughter wasn’t able to do, instead of what she is able to do. My favorite trainings have to do with presuming competence and what that should look like, as well as the explanations of what goes on in the brain of autistic individuals. I also loved how the trainer and our camp coach approached any parent concerns and questions with compassion, understanding and without guilt, which is not something you typically see in other professionals. I am so glad that I got to attend these sessions during CAN-Do Camp with my daughter because I was able to spend time with her, bond with her and learn some new things along the way. I would really love to see these trainings continue for parents because there are none like what Optimal Rhythms offers to us. I have attended a lot of trainings over the years, none of them focus on what I feel is important to help my daughter.
To Whom It May Concern,
When we first started the journey with Luke it seemed like it was appointment after appointment just hearing over and over again what Luke “has”, what Luke is diagnosed with. I remember just trying to wrap my brain around words like “delay”, “disorder”, “disability”. Once we had this information I spent the better part of a year trying to figure out what to do. We had him in all of the therapies. I just still felt so inadequate to parent him through this journey. I was constantly asking myself “how do I help him through this episode?” “Do I push him through it?” Do I do it for him?” I would ask his doctors. “How do I help him ?” And they would give me generic answers that would leave me with even more questions.
We started music therapy and I immediately saw how effective it was for Luke. We LOVED it. It definitely began to fill a need for Luke, but I was still searching for help for me. I needed someone to give me real time advice with how to help Luke navigate through some of his tough moments.
I first heard about the “Can Do Camp” from Luke’s music therapist. To be honest, my first thought was - “something for Luke to go do this summer and I can just drop him off- where do I sign him up!” However, with the pandemic, they had to do things a little differently.
The first week of camp, we had a coach come to our house to help us with all of the activities. I was so glad this was an option, because I was scared to death to have to be the one that leads this camp with Luke. I kept thinking “oh my goodness, these people are going to see that I have no idea what I am doing with my own son”. Sure enough, five minutes through the first activity, Luke begins to shut down. I held my breath waiting for someone to call me out. Instead, what I received was love and support. Love and support - not only from the therapists but also other parents. I would have a therapist give me real time advice and things to try. I would get messages from parents encouraging me. The therapists would see what Luke was doing and immediately give me suggestions on things to try. Each day, there was a time for just the parents. The information that was presented during those parent times was exactly what I had been seeking since the beginning of this journey. I learned the why and the how to many of Luke’s struggles. It was such a safe and supportive group of people, that I never hesitated to ask questions and open up about Luke’s struggles and my insecurities. I received the most amazing feedback. I received practical tips and tricks from the therapists and other parents. I received so much love and support from everyone.
I went from feeling inadequate and insecure to be Luke’s Momma, to feeling encouraged, and more importantly, I felt empowered to walk with Luke on this journey.
Now let me tell you what this camp did for Luke! He was encouraged to not say “I can’t do that” to “I can”. I watched him transform throughout the summer. I watched him grow in confidence in himself. He had so much fun. We made crafts, played games, sang songs and so much more. We had so much fun with our coach that came to our house. She was so patient and kind to Luke (and all of us). Luke’s sisters were able to participate too and his older sister even made the comment “I love knowing how to help my brother”.
The Can Do camp will forever be close to my heart because it was at that camp where I began to understand that it’s not about Luke’s “delays” and “disabilities” (that’s all we focus on with doctors). Instead, I learned all that Luke can do. I saw Luke overcome obstacles. I watched him work through fears. I watched my sweet little boy play games and do experiments and create beautiful crafts all with a smile on his face and full of confidence. I was able for the very first time on this journey to soak up all the things Luke Can Do and at the same time I was able to get feedback and suggestions and tips and tricks to equip me to help Luke through his struggles.
I have had several family members, friends, teachers and even his other therapists talk about how Luke has grown in confidence and how he seems like a different kid. I personally watched Luke navigate the fears of the first day of Kindergarten by utilizing tips he had learned at this camp and at his music therapy. I was able to navigate Luke’s IEP meeting. And let me just say, I rocked it! I walked in there feeling so empowered. I had received such helpful advice from other parents at the camp and from the therapists too. The first thing I said to everyone in the room was “ I understand we have to discuss Luke’s delays and disabilities, but we will also be taking the time to talk about all that Luke CAN DO.” I felt like I was heard and that is because of the confidence I gained at the Can Do Camp.
I pray we get to experience this camp again and again, but if not, I will forever be grateful for the Can Do Camp of 2020. It will forever be the summer where I was empowered to be Luke’s Momma and I want to thank every single person that worked with Luke and me. Each one of the therapists have such a passion and a heart to serve and it blessed us more than I will ever be able to put into words.
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Carolyn Wallace, Luke’s Momma