What Is Camp Abilities?

Lauren Lieberman Listen to Lauren Lieberman's description of Camp Abilities.


My name is Lauren Lieberman. I'm a professor of adapted physical education at SUNY-Brockport in Brockport, New York.

Could you tell us a little bit about your camp?

Sure. Camp Abilities is a developmental sports camp for children who are visually impaired, blind, or deafblind. It was started at SUNY-Brockport. I started it 12 years ago, and the idea—there's four purposes of camp. The first purpose is to teach children who are visually impaired, blind, or deafblind how to access sports and recreation and empower them to know what modifications to make so that they can do them at home.

The second purpose of our camp is to teach current and future teachers of physical education, vision or special education, "How do you teach kids with visual impairments?" Every child is paired one-to-one with a professional preparation student who's learning how to teach kids with visual impairments, either in physical education or special ed. or their vision programs.

The third purpose is research; we do a lot of research as far as physical fitness, attitudes. We're doing a nutrition study this summer; we do studies on inclusion, parent attitudes, intervention studies. And so without this large number of kids, we wouldn't be able to do all this research that we do. We also started Camp Abilities in many other places so we have access to literally hundreds of kids with visual impairments and deafblindness.

And then the last, but one of the most important purposes, is respite for the parents. It's a great week with—parents really know the kids are having a great time. They're safe. They're learning a lot and then the parents have a free week without the kids—you know without their grandparents watching them or any aunt or uncle, so those are the four purposes of camp. And it's a great week of just learning physical activities and sports and learning what they can do.

The Camp Abilities website is www.campabilities.org and from that website, you can see the purposes of our camp, you can see all the sports that we offer. You can also access the other camps that are offered throughout the country. And then there's also my e-mail and phone number on there if you have any further questions.

There are several websites of organizations that I think will be really helpful for parents. One is our website that I just gave at www.campabilities.org. Another website that I think is very helpful is the American Printing House for the Blind website, APH.org. If you put in—in the APH.org website—if you put in physical education, it'll take you to a page that has links to equipment, websites, books, research, programs—a myriad of information related to physical activity and kids with visual impairment or deaf-blindness. So, that's a great resource that I would encourage anybody to go to.

*Another website that actually will take you to an area where you can look up different disabilities related to physical education is called "Project Inspire." It's www.twu.edu/inspire and that's the Texas Women's University website for adapted physical education. And if you click on adaptive physical education, and then go on to any disability that you want to know about, it'll tell you what physical activities and modifications for that disability. So that's a great resource, and the people from TW put that together. So those are some websites that are really helpful, and hopefully, they will be good resources for the parents.

*Editorial Note: Project Inspire is no longer an active project.

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