Oklahoma City camp allows autistic children to flourish

A weeklong camp for autistic kids opened Monday at Camp DaKaNi in Oklahoma City.
by Matt Patterson Modified: July 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm •  Published: July 24, 2012
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An experiment last summer yielded big results for autistic kids in Oklahoma City.

Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma invited several children with autism and Down syndrome to its summer camp. The kids had so much fun that Camp CANOE was established for them this summer.

CANOE is an acronym for Children with Autism Need Outdoor Experiences. The weeklong camp opened Monday at Camp DaKaNi in Oklahoma City.

“We thought they would flourish even though our camp wasn't specifically geared toward them,” Executive Director Pam Ballard said. “That's exactly what happened. The families loved it. The kids loved it. That experiment is what got this camp started.”

Ballard said kids in Camp CANOE will do many of the same things regular campers do. The difference is there is a lot more one-on-one attention.

“Research shows kids with autism benefit from rock climbing, fishing, canoeing and hiking the same way other children do,” she said.

Ballard said the camp will return next summer. For more information, call Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma at 254-2080.

by Matt Patterson
Reporter
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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