The mission of Apex Summer Camp is to provide and develop an evidence-based summer program designed specifically for children with ASD and ADHD. It utilizes a naturalistic camp environment

to focus on building social skills, positive

relationships, and self-esteem within the

context of structured recreational and

learning activities. We partner closely

with parents to identify, practice, coach,

and reinforce skills throughout the day.

We engage leading experts to provide

clinical supervision, support, and

consultation on program implementation

and development.


Our philosophy is that naturalistic environments offer the best opportunities for learning and generalizing meaningful skills. To this end, our program involves common age-appropriate recreational activities. At the same time, our program is highly structured, providing an underlying framework to maximize learning opportunities. We introduce new skills through direct teaching, explicit rehearsal, with practice throughout the day. Behavioral data are collected during all activities, providing data-based progress monitoring. We utilize positive reinforcement to shape behavior, accompanied by prompting and feedback as

Program Design

The camp program is designed to build and practice social skills and self-esteem within the context of structured recreational and learning activities. Children participate in typical camp activities including sports, games, arts and crafts, and hiking. We introduce new skills through direct teaching, explicit rehearsal including modeling and role-playing, with practice and reinforcement throughout the day across activities. Each day focuses on a specific skill such as turn taking and eye contact, with broad emphasis on key themes such as communication, participation, and cooperation. Targets of treatment include

improvements in the quality of peer

interactions, increases in self-efficacy

and confidence, and enhanced

self-regulation of emotions and behavior.

The program offers 150 hours of

treatment in 5 weeks, roughly the

equivalent of 2 years of clinic or

school-based social skills training.

The UW Autism Center's summer camp program is in its sixth year. The current program represents a significant expansion, aiming to provide a structured, data-based, and individualized program for campers. It also aims to train and engage emerging professionals in the field of behavioral intervention.

appropriate. Parent partnerships are essential, assisting in the identification of target skills and facilitating learning across environments.

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The program includes the implementation of a reward system in which children earn points for appropriate behavior, such as helping peers, staying on task, following rules, and appropriate social interaction (e.g. maintaining personal space, initiating social approaches, appropriate questions). Point accumulation entitles children to rewards on a daily and weekly basis. Behaviors are