East Meets West: Camp STAR provides treatment for children with ADHD

Child working in classroom

The Camp STAR program includes a fun camp environment while also providing individualized treatment for children with ADHD. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

It’s not just a summer camp. For children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Camp STAR can be a life-changing experience.

“At the end of camp, parents often describe their child as a brand-new kid,” said Janine Rosenberg, assistant clinical director of Camp STAR and assistant professor of clinical psychology. “They can’t believe the transformation that takes place over the seven weeks of camp.”

Camp STAR (the name stands for Summer Treatment for ADHD and Related Issues), a partnership of UIC and the Jewish Council for Youth Services, is the only program of its kind in Illinois.

The camp is staffed by a multidisciplinary group of UIC graduate and undergraduate students in psychology, education and the health sciences.

The camp, for children entering first through seventh grade in the upcoming school year, runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 20 through Aug. 5 in Highland Park.

Camp STAR director Kristine Kent said the camp helps boost kids’ self-esteem.

“Many kids come to Camp STAR having had negative experiences at other camps, or at school, but at Camp STAR they fit in — they meet other kids that have similar issues or struggles, and together they learn new skills,” Kent said. “Some kids may have had difficulty forming friendships, but we find that at Camp STAR, they do make friends, and our counselors use a lot of positive reinforcement to facilitate and encourage those new friendships.”

The program provides a fun camp environment with a focus on social rewards and positive reinforcement through sports and recreation. Every child receives an individualized treatment plan, to teach and reward social skills, improve attention and anger management, control impulsive behaviors and enhance self-esteem.

“Camp STAR works with campers’ families, not just to provide support through the summer but to have a real, long-term impact by providing the tools for success that kids and parents can bring with them into the school year after camp is over,” Kent said.

For information, call (847) 433-6001 ext.106 or email campstar@jcys.org

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