Imagine a ski vacation where everyone in the family is having fun and learning to ski – including your child with autism. Programs such as Extreme Sports Camp’s Autism Skis program based out of Snowmass, Colorado, teach children and adults across the autism spectrum and of any athletic ability how to ski or snowboard.
At Extreme Sports Camp, professional ski instructors are trained in autism-friendly teaching approaches. The instructors are supported by ski buddies who are autism specialists, there to nurture social and emotional competence and enable more complex motor movements involved in skiing with the instructors. After an initial assessment, an individualized, goal-directed ski curriculum including longitudinal, itemized data collection of progress is implemented. Participants are challenged yet savor success and the immediate and long-term benefits of skiing, leading to increased self-esteem and appreciation of the outdoors and an active lifestyle!
“Our son has benefited enormously from participating in this ski program for the past two years. His confidence and sense of independence have risen significantly," says one parent testimonial. “He felt really welcome, included, and part of a family.”
“We’re especially excited about our peer mentorship programs,” says executive director Deb Sullivan Gravelle. “Working in complement with our sports instruction program, local students participate in our après-ski activities with campers in a similar age bracket. We’re also having some of our campers participate in mainstream ski lessons offered by Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, with the aid of a 1:1 ski buddy. These programs build our campers’ social skills and expand understanding and acceptance of autism on behalf of our community.”
Autism Skis at Extreme Sports Camp is an example of healthy, natural, activity-based learning through the ever-lasting sport of skiing. Got Autism? Get Skiing!
Ski programs run from Christmas time until ski closure in early April. Scholarships and family stay options are available. School and organizational groups are welcome. Call or e-mail Extreme Sports Camp for more information at (970) 927 3143 / firstname.lastname@example.org, or register at: extremesportscamp.org. Extreme Sports Camp, Inc. is a 501(3)(c) non-profit in operation since 2004.