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Inclusive Camps Focus on Friendship, Skill-Building at Connecticut Transition Academy

Published Dec 31, 2018 • Last Updated 03:24 pm, December 31, 2018

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We get by with a little help from our friends, but sometimes, new connections need encouragement to grow. The Connecticut Transition Academy's Foundations of Friendship summer camp helps students in grades 3-8 build social skills in a supportive, structured setting.

From its hillside location perched high above the Connecticut River, the academy rises from the landscape like something out of a storybook. Its impressive stone building looks out over 80 acres, which comprise athletic fi elds, walking trails, and wooded and open space. Each summer, the grounds are home to a variety of all-inclusive camps, meaning that students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and special needs are encouraged to attend. The campus features indoor and outdoor recreation space, including a gymnasium and swimming pool.

Each camp runs for six weeks beginning in early July. Full-day sessions, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., include morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunch. Part-day sessions, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. include morning snack and lunch.

Academy Chef Kristen Liberatori serves up fresh-made summer favorites like tacos, barbecued chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, fruit and vegetable salads, and more. Among the benefi ts to having a professional kitchen, large outdoor grill, and community garden at hand, Chef Kristen says, is that the academy is well-suited to serve campers with special dietary needs or restrictions, including health issues like diabetes.

"We cook for anybody and everybody," she says.

Beyond the beautiful setting and amenities, the Connecticut Transition Academy off ers clear advantages to kids who benefi t from extra support.

As a Connecticut Department of Education-approved private day school, the academy is uniquely positioned to provide services to children with IEPs. Specialized services including tutoring, speech and language pathology, emotional and social skills support, and occupational and physical therapy, are provided by certifi ed, experienced educators and therapists. These service blocks are incorporated into the camper's day, ensuring that each camper stays on top of his or her personal and educational goals while enjoying time in the sun and meeting friends beyond the normal peer group.

Typically, the cost of specialized services is born by the student's school district, explains Chief Administrator Dr. Pamela Potemri, but parents can also opt for private tuition.

Camp size is intentionally small, to maximize safety and individual attention. As space is limited, early registration is encouraged. Additional costs may be required if IEP services are requested. A consultation with your school district representative can be arranged as needed to discuss service delivery and cost deferment.

The Connecticut Transition Academy welcomes private tours. If you would like to request a camp information package, schedule a visit, or if you have specifi c questions about the Academy's ability to accommodate your child's specifi c needs, please call 860-343-1300 or email

This story was provided by Connecticut Transition Academy, located in Deep River. The academy is also looking to connect with businesses and organizations that would like to help provide camp sponsorships/scholarships to families in need. For information on how to get involved, please call 860-343-1300 or visit

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