Every child should have a summer camp experience where they feel they belong, says Larry Biederman, the creator of MichTic – the first camp in Michigan for children with tic disorders.
“For one week, everyone in the camp has Tourette’s syndrome or a tic disorder – including myself – aside from a few camp counselors,” Biederman says. “So for this week, having a tic is the norm.”
Children entering third through eighth grades whose primary diagnosis is Tourette’s syndrome or a tic disorder enjoy the typical summer camp experience with sports, arts and crafts and outdoor recreation time, all surrounded by kids like them.
“What we’re doing differently is including a lot more structured team bonding,” Biederman, who works as a science teacher during the school year, says. “Kids with Tourette’s syndrome can share experiences and stories and swap ideas for coping mechanisms.”
The response so far from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, he adds.
“The most common reaction I’ve gotten is ‘Thank you, my kid feels alone’ and ‘I want my kid to feel like he’s not the only one with Tourette’s syndrome,'” he says.
The day camp runs Monday through Friday, July 22-26. Snacks are provided each day, along with a pizza meal on Friday. It offers spots for 12 children and will keep registration open until it fills. “They’ll feel like at the end of the week, they made a friend who understands their life,” he says.
Families can register for MichTic Camp online for $400 through Emerson School in Ann Arbor.