Summer Camp For Children with Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Adventure Camp (Camp Au’venture for short) is a recreation-based summer program designed for 8 - 12 year olds with level 1 autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The camp offers a unique approach to building self-care, social connections and social skills for children with and without autism.
Our distinctive methodology provides opportunities for campers to learn directly from each other. Throughout the camp, each camper with autism will engage with peers in a way that fosters practicing appropriate social interactions. This will enable each camper to make numerous friends and feel more comfortable reaching out to others with the safety and support of a peer. Please see our section titled Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Applications for the 2023 Camp will open in January 2023
Dates, Cost, & Registration
The 2023 camp program will run two 3-week sessions from June 13-July 27. Sessions take place three days a week every Tuesday through Thursday from 9 am to 3:30 pm.
June 13-29, 2023
9 am-3:30 pm
July 11-27, 2023
9 am-3:30 pm
The Autism Adventure Camp is based at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI). Each day will start on the HMHI ROPES Challenge Course behind the building. The camp also features several field trips, including, but not limited to: Snowbird, Thanksgiving Point, and Cherry Hill.
HMHI ROPES Challenge Course
501 Chipeta Way
SLC, UT, 84108
(on the east side of the building)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Autism Adventure Camp is based at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (formerly University Neuropsychiatric Institute). This camp is all about creating friendships and having fun engaging in diverse recreation and leisure!
Our camp is designed to help children with a diagnosis of level 1 autism spectrum disorder learn and practice social skills in a safe and fun environment. Our camp follows a peer modeling structure which means that each child or adolescent has the opportunity to interact with neurotypical developing peers each week. We try to create activities in which the peers work together in hopes that social knowledge, social skills, inclusion and acceptance are learned and practiced.
These activities range from getting-to-know-you activities to arts and crafts, sports, interactive games, and ropes course activities. We traditionally take multiple field trips, including, but not limited to, Snowbird, Thanksgiving Point, and Cherry Hill.
Campers will either register as a Pal (person with level 1 ASD), or as a Peer (person of neurotypical development). See below for more details on these roles.
We are a part of HMHI, however, the camp will not provide diagnostic services or clinical intervention. This is a community-based program where your child will be enrolled as a camper and not a patient with a medical record and/or an attending physician. If you are in need of these services please contact your health/mental health care provider or the HMHI Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic, as this is not the role of our camp staff.
Although camp is not a clinical service, licensed and certified recreational therapists serve as camp directors and plan our camp program each year. They facilitate the portions of camp focused on learning, practice and reinforcement of social skills. Campers will receive a daily debrief sheet with objective points of positive and constructive feedback in an attempt to help families connect camp to everyday life.
Our camp facilitators are nationally trained professionals with backgrounds in the field of therapeutic recreation, outdoor recreation, education, behavioral health and other health care professions.
Prospective Pals (people with level 1 ASD), will be able to stay with a group, or able to rejoin after taking a break, or when prompted by the camp facilitators. They will be able to follow 1 to 2-step instructions, follow prompting and may have a basic knowledge of coping skills. They may be able to accept feedback without becoming physically aggressive with themselves, others or property. Pals are able to keep their clothes on, toilet themselves and provide their own medication management, albeit with staff supervision. Any additional diagnoses identified by your provider must be listed on the camp application to help us create and provide adequate support.
Prospective Peers (people of neurotypical development), will be outgoing, friendly, patient and capable of empathy for others. They are able to initiate and engage in positive interactions with Pals and set boundaries if needed. Peers are also expected to be able to meet the Pal expectations listed above.
We are out in the community daily, sometimes taking public transportation, and the environment quickly becomes unsafe when children are struggling or running away. If your child tends to get aggressive or run away when struggling, this camp will not be a good place for them. As needed follow-ups and discussions may take place between camp directors and families to create reasonable accommodations. In the event the situation becomes unsafe for the individual or the whole camp community, your child may be asked to leave camp and a refund will be provided for any unattended full weeks.
In order for your child to have a meaningful camp experience, we require at least a consecutive three week commitment, or the length of one session. The model of our camp works best when children can participate for at least three consecutive weeks. There are two sessions of camp happening in 2023 to reach more prospective campers. Requests for a registration in both sessions will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests for a two week registration will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests for a one week attendance cannot be accommodated.
One of the purposes of our camp is to teach age appropriate social skills. In order for that to be successful, we require that all of our participants are in the camp specific to their age.
Insurance does not pay for this summer camp.
Typically we don’t have scholarships available. We do our best to budget so that camp fees cover the cost of the program. If scholarships ever become available, there will be information about it here on our website and existing campers will be notified.
Related Programs and Clinics
HMHI ROPES Challenge Course
The HMHI ROPES Challenge Course is an incredible resource for groups, teams, programs, and organizations. Highly trained, outcome-focused facilitators work with you to meet your objectives and enrich the growth and cohesion opportunity for your group. Our beautiful challenge course is one of the largest courses in the state. Schedule a group or tour today.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic
We provide services for children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Our goal is to partner with individuals and families to improve the lives of individuals with ASD.