MIDDLETOWN – For the second consecutive year, Middletown’s Summer Recreation Inclusion Program will be enriched with a $20,000 grant award from the state Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities (ROID) grant program.
“It’s great news that Middletown has received a second grant from this highly competitive program,” said Mayor Stephanie Murray. “This funding will allow us to further enhance our Summer Recreation Inclusion program which brings children of all abilities together to learn social skills and interact with each other.”
The Middletown Summer Recreation Inclusion Program gives children with various disorders the opportunity to participate in a summer camp alongside their peers. Often children with disorders such as ADHD, disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders and Asperger’s syndrome do not qualify for extended year school programs through their districts, explained Township Administrator Anthony P. Mercantante.
Thanks to the grant, the program will be expanded next summer to include a weekly series on careers and a summer-long building project. The series will start with a mechanic who would introduce the campers their summer project – construction of a surrey bike, a doorless four-wheeled carriage. Campers will meet different professionals each week and have the opportunity to take a trip to each professional’s workplace, he said.
Funding will also be used to develop a quiet room. Children on the autism spectrum sometimes find it difficult to cope with the various sounds, sights and activities in the world. Their sensory threshold is usually lower than the typically developing child. By providing bean bag chairs, iPads, and other quiet games, the child will be able to have a space to be quiet and calm themselves down when needed, Mercantante added.
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Middletown’s inclusion program, started in 2013, offers children a higher level of support and intervention than what is usually offered in a summer camp. The program’s director, Matt Strobel, Psy.D.,works with participants to evaluate their individual needs and creates a curriculum which helps the children develop skills necessary for participation in summer camps and other activities throughout their lives. Lessons taught can include rule setting and following, addressing feelings, social skills, goal setting and problem solving.
The purpose of the ROID grant is to assist local governmental entities in meeting their mandates, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to include people with disabilities into their municipal and county recreation and leisure services.
Call the Recreation Department at 732-615-2260 for more information about the Middletown Summer Recreation Inclusion Program.