My father opened up the Ability Camp, which as far as we can tell, was the first Centre for Conductive Education in North America. The Ability Camp is a year round facility where families come and stay for 5 weeks at a time. The main goal of Ability Camp is to help the kids achieve their independence so as they get older they can be as independent as possible without needing caregivers or added assistance. The exercises are also based around activities you'll find in everyday life; how to get up and down stairs or a ramp, how to manoeuvre on uneven terrain like the ground outside. how to fall safely, how to feed yourself, potty training, speech, fine motor skills such as crafts and various other activities, etc.
Conductive Education is an intensive physical therapy session that runs 5 or 6 hours a day five days a week for 5 weeks. The intensity of this program can be compared to sending your child to a gymnastics or ballet camp for 5 week instead your average summer camp. It is about the farthest away from easy as you could possibly get. Even the mentality is different. In one on one physical therapy, in my experience, a lot of the exercises were done to you and required very little true participation and almost no problem solving skills whatsoever. The expectations were low and if you were stubborn enough to resist cooperating in the therapy, eventually your hour would run out and you would, for all intensive purposes, get your way. Conductive Education, on the other hand, is nothing like this. First of all you are in a group setting so all of the attention is not solely focused on you. Group atmospheres can be good many ways:
You know or realize that the person is not there solely to cater to you so it makes it more difficult to distract the Conductor or therapist from the task at hand because they could just go work with another child therefore meaning you lose out on being the centre of attention
When you're having an off day where it seems like you struggling to do the simplest things, seeing another child, your peer, accomplishing whatever goal was set out for them, it gives you a second wind. It inspires you enough to strengthen your determination and resolve to accomplish your own tasks in a way one on one therapy never could.
You make lifelong friends with kids who really do understand where you're coming from and what it feels like to be a disabled child. You ARE equal. You ARE the same.
We've been here for 20 years. A few years after we opened, one of the families attending our camp told us about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. As my father used to be a commercial deep sea diver, he was very familiar with chambers. We started offering Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and saw amazing results for a variety of different issues. It helped to improve balance, speech, reduce spasticity, improve focus and in one case made a significant improvement in IQ points. Ability Camp now offers both therapies in combination and there are free accommodations that are right onsite to every therapy offered.
Just recently, a new therapy has been added to the list, Auditory Integration Therapy or AIT. Children with CP have been known to have somewhat of a heightened sensitivity to sound. Loud noises, generally but not always unexpected, will cause increased startle reflexes and possibly upset them. Startle reflexes can happen with children with Cerebral Palsy because of hypersensitivity to sound in some frequencies. This AIT therapy is 2 half hour sessions a day listening to specially filtered music to help strengthen the muscles in the inner ear to decrease sensitivity to sound and in some cases increase a hearing deficit to as close to average hearing range as possible. Parents have noticed increased attention span, calmer behaviour and less erratic, uncontrolled movements.
We have also just added a Facebook group called Ability Camp with a picture of our sign. This group allows past clients communicate with potential clients to share their experiences of what it is like to come to Ability Camp and the support and friendships that were gained by many families because of it. If you would like to see a video of my story, you can find it on You Tube, under the title Growing Up With Cerebral Palsy.
I sincerely hope that you find this information beneficial and feel free to contact me at the e-mail address listed if you have any questions.
Ability Camp Inc.