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Problem Solving & Decision Making: Practicing skills in different situations.
Meghann Hernandez has extensive experience working with kids and teens with special needs in both educational and camp settings. Pennsylvania certified in teaching Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education, Meghann earned her bachelor”s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Temple University in 2005, and received her master”s degree in Education from Holy Family University in 2010. She has been teaching in public and private schools since 2005, and since 2006 has worked with students with autism spectrum disorders. During the school year, Meghann works as a special education teacher in a private school serving children with special needs. Her camp experience includes six years working with Stephanie DeSouza. In 2012 she served as Director of AMICA Camp. An experienced counselor with all age groups, Meghann developed and supervised a preschool program at the camp and is particularly skilled in working with young children as well as teens.
Amy Ellison began her career in special education in 2000, as an Instructional Assistant in the Autistic Support program at Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22, Cornwells Elementary School. Finding her passion in serving children with special needs, Amy worked for six years as an assistant while attending Holy Family University at night to earn her bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Special Education. Upon completing her degree in 2006, she became a teacher in the Autistic Support program at Cornwells and has remained there ever since. In 2010 Amy earned her master’s degree in Education from Cabrini College. She is dedicated to helping children on the spectrum and their families.
The counselors were involved, energetic, and pushed each of the campers to be the best they could be. I believe this is a direct reflection of Stephanie’s guidance and direction to those counselors. Our son has grown in his social The introduction of live Baccarat means that eligible players from all ”The casinos online aren’t the only real ones wishing the bill will get passed. corners of the globe can experience this fantastic slotmachineitaliane.net card game from the comforts of home. skills as a result of attending Stephanie’s camp. He is now demonstrating many of those skills on an everyday basis at school. Stephanie is a huge asset to the special needs community.” – David and Donna S.
- Unique programming to develop proficiencies in individuals who struggle socially.
- Small camper groups within a two-year age range to facilitate friendships and engagement in appropriate camp activities.
- High counselor to camper ratio in all groups.
- Experienced, trained counselors who model successful socializing behaviors.
- Counselor supervision throughout the camp day in all groups, including integrated AMICA/Cherokee lunch period and Cherokee Day Camp activities with mainstream peers.
- Daily skill-building activities carefully designed to teach interpersonal communication and the fundamentals of friendship, customized to meet individual camper needs and to further growth and emotional development while providing opportunities for creative and socially appropriate personal expression. Campers are given the tools and time to make and nurture friendships with peers and counselors.
- Field trips to community destinations to practice social skills. AMICA TEENS also learn and practice high school-focused social skills and independence in trips and activities such as bowling, dances, movies, shopping, and restaurant excursions.
While we have experienced his academic progress in the school setting, we have never placed him in the ESY program that his school district offers every summer. Many parents think we’re foolish, but then they have never met Stephanie DeSouza, the individual that has steered the ship for the Social Skills Camp offered in our community. Each summer Stephanie and her hand-picked, skilled staff have created an atmosphere of support and clear behavioral expectations that has increased Liam’s confidence, competence, and independence.”
– Tara W.
Camp is a place for making friends, learning new skills, trying new activities, and connecting with nature.
Research by the American Camp Association and youth development organizations shows that summer camps help children learn valuable life skills including…
- Conflict resolution
AMICA is independently owned and operated on the grounds of Cherokee Day Camp. AMICA campers have dedicated staff and separate schedules, and are supervised by highly experienced AMICA leadership at all times. AMICA campers enjoy access to Cherokee Day Camp facilities and participate in lunch, snacks, and activities with Cherokee campers as appropriate, allowing AMICA campers additional opportunities to practice socializing in a safe camp setting. All AMICA and Cherokee counselors and staff are screened prior to hiring in accordance with American Camp Association and state guidelines.
*Additional fees for after-camp care and transportation.
January 11, 2012
Board of Directors, Bucks County Autism Support Coalition, PO Box 660, Warrington, PA 18976
Dear Board of Directors:
I wanted to take this opportunity to endorse AMICA. Having worked with Stephanie DeSouza the last five years, it is a pleasure to recommend her program to you as a potential grant recipient.
My oldest daughter, Jessica, was diagnosed with Asperger’s almost ten years ago. This was such a new addition to the spectrum and there were more questions than options out there. My husband and I wanted Jessica to experience life. Jessica joined Girl Scouts, remained in a regular classroom with an aide and attended summer camp with a shadow. However, this was not enough in the summer to keep her social skills improving over those three months.
My parents live in Bucks County and my mother saw an article about a camp for children on the autism spectrum and the success it had during its first summer. I immediately called Stephanie to arrange to meet her to see if Jessica was appropriate for the camp and the camp was appropriate for her. We drove 90 miles to meet her one Sunday as she interviewed both Jessica and us. She explained the activities and goals the camp would provide. When she said Jess was invited to camp, we knew it was going to be great. We started with two weeks the first two years and then added a third week. My parents each took a week vacation to take her to and from camp and I took a week as well.
Each summer Jessica looks forward to going back to camp. She has friends there and loves the choice of activities offered such as stream stomping, tie-dye and trips to the mall. She even goes back on some weekends to attend the dances because she loves the program. Stephanie each year recommends which weeks would work best for Jessica so she is with her camp friends. I remember fondly the first year Jessica was with the boys because it worked with our schedule. However, she let her opinion be known to Stephanie that was not to happen again. This shows how Stephanie knows her students and supports them in a way that they become independent. She even wants them to come back as peer tutors, which I hope Jess will become one day.
I wish Stephanie would bring AMICA to New York so that more children and their families experience her programs. She is making the children better people.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica or myself about AMICA and Stephanie.
Thank you for providing wonderful grants to wonderful organizations.
I have known Stephanie DeSouza for the past 3 years as Director of a social skills camp for children on the Autistic spectrum, held at in Newtown, PA. My son Nicolas has attended the camp while under her direction and looked forward to going to camp to be with his friends each summer.
Stephanie has done a wonderful job of providing kids, such as my son, with a “typical” camp experience of a well-rounded day as well as working on the social skills each day that these children desperately need. She also was instrumental to me, working side by side in creating an appropriate behavior/motivational plan for my son when needed.
I would highly recommend that Stephanie be awarded the start-up grant to carry on this critical work in Bucks County.
Donna L. Park