A group of students and faculty from MGH Institute of Health Professions graduate school recently held a “Transitions Camp” for children to be better prepared to start the school year after summer vacation.
The week-long camp, held at Special Townies’ Clubhouse, included a variety of activities designed to address individualized goals to get the children ready for the new school year. Special Townies is a Charlestown non-profit organization that provides support to families with special needs children and youth.
“Many children with special needs have difficulties with transitions, especially with the major changes in daily routines from summer vacation in comparison to the school year,” said Andrea Fairman, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at the Charlestown Navy Yard health school, who organized the camp.
Feedback on this experience from parents and the Institute’s nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy students was very positive. “These activities clearly caught the kids’ attention and sparked their interest,” said Wendy and Michael Catino, whose children Michael and Olivia participated in the camp. “They were calmer, happier, and more relaxed than they had been all summer. Having this bridge to the start of school was invaluable.”
“We are beyond grateful for all the commitment and vast improvement in the children both physically and mentally,” said Alison Humphrey, whose niece, Aighslynn, and granddaughter, Alexa, attended the camp. Her daughter Jessica added, “You have made a positive impact on our family.”
The camp was also a great learning experience for MGH Institute students. “It was a good way to put into practice what we learn in class,” said Eileen Kirk, who is in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Eva Trinh added: “I got to experience how each child has different needs and how they reacted to different activities which will help me in my career.”