Summer Program FAQ

How can I enroll in this program?
Please complete an online application. All applications will be reviewed within five business days to determine if your child is eligible for the program.

Please contact Caroline Mendel, PsyD, at or 646-625-4321 if you have any questions.

Enrollment is on a first-registered, first-served basis.

Who benefits from this program?
Children who have behavioral, learning or social skills difficulties will benefit from this program, as well as children who have had difficulty feeling successful in typical summer camps or programs in the past. Children benefit from a higher level of support from their counselors to practice developing and maintaining positive peer relationships, successfully participating in team sports and working well in a group environment.

Are parents and other family members included in a child’s treatment?
Absolutely. Studies have shown that parental and family involvement in a child’s treatment leads to more positive outcomes. Parents will receive a daily update on their child and will be asked to participate in weekly training so they can continue reinforcing skills at home.

What kind of follow-up care is offered?
Following participation in the Child Mind Institute Summer Program, families can receive ongoing support if interested. This may involve parent training to help with managing behaviors at home, school consultation to develop a consistent behavior plan in the classroom, or providing individual support to your child. If clinically indicated, this could also include the completion of a thorough diagnostic evaluation, medication consultation or neuropsychological testing. Follow-up care can be provided for an additional cost.

Do you offer any assistance to families who cannot afford the program?
The Child Mind Institute has financial aid available for families who qualify. If you have financial need, we will send you a financial aid application. For those families who qualify for financial aid and are traveling from out of town, the Child Mind Institute Cares Fund offers a daily stipend for travel expenses.

Can children outside of the New York metropolitan area join the program?
Yes. We welcome children and families from across the country and around the world. Our website includes information on places to stay near us and family friendly things to do in New York City.

Who are the staff and what is the ratio of counselors to children?
The staff consists of licensed psychologists, social workers, associate psychologists, licensed teachers and a nurse. All of our counselors are carefully chosen through a competitive application process and receive over 40 hours of intensive training prior to the start of the program as well as onsite training and supervision from our program directors. There is one counselor for every two children allowing our counselors to provide frequent feedback and real-time interventions in order to facilitate personalized support.

What is a typical day like at the Child Mind Institute Summer Program?
Each day, children have academic learning time as well as art, recreational and sports activities. We teach a new social skill each day, with opportunities for children to practice with their age-matched peers through role-plays and during each activity. Each child will have his own daily report card with target behavior goals and will work towards being on the honor roll, receiving group awards and other daily privileges. As group conflicts occur, problem-solving discussions will be facilitated within the group. In addition to daily rewards, children will have the opportunity to earn the privilege of attending a field trip every Friday. Field trips will take place at locations around New York City.

How will you work with my child?
Typical summer camps can be difficult for many children with ADHD or related behavioral, learning and social needs. There are often large groups of children with a limited number of counselors and overstimulating environments. The Child Mind Institute Summer Program provides a highly structured environment where children can practice having successful interactions with both peers and adults. By treating children in a camp-like setting, we are able to intensively evaluate and provide direct interventions related to children’s difficulties in peer relationships and group activities. With a ratio of one counselor for every two children, small group sizes and individualized reward system, counselors are able to provide consistent and frequent feedback for targeted behaviors in order to facilitate real behavior change. The Child Mind Institute Summer Program provides 120 hours of intensive treatment in 4 weeks – significantly more time than a child with ADHD or related needs would receive in a year of weekly outpatient treatment.

What does your individualized reward system look like?
Children will earn points (or tokens for the younger age group) for positive behaviors that we aim to increase during their camp experience. For example, they will receive points for following activity rules and for good sportsmanship, as well as additional points every time they demonstrate that they are paying attention, following directions, helping or sharing with a peer, contributing to a group discussion or ignoring negative behavior in the group. Each child will also be working on earning points for individual goals that will be determined during the intake process in collaboration with parents and teachers. Children will lose points whenever they engage in a negative behavior.

Each day, children will earn awards or privileges for their points – including being on the honor roll for highest number of points or being the group’s best sport for the day. At the end of each day, they will be able to “cash-in” their points for rewards and prizes that are tailored to your child’s unique interests. Points will also go towards the privilege of attending a field trip with the group at the end of each week.

Each child will receive her own binder at the start of the program that will review the point system and all activity rules in detail, as well as what behaviors will result in an additional reward or consequence. This will be tailored to each child’s developmental level and needs.

How will camp staff respond to negative verbal or physical behaviors during the program?
If children engage in negative behaviors such as noncompliance, name-calling or teasing, swearing, interrupting or lying, they will lose points from their behavior chart. If they engage in unsafe behaviors, they will lose points and receive a time-out from the group activity. Program rules will be reviewed and a group problem-solving discussion will be facilitated if this occurs.

What if my child needs medicine throughout the day?
We have a licensed nurse on staff who will administer medication.

Will I need to pack anything with my child to bring?
Yes, you will need to pack a lunch and water bottle for your child each day. We will provide snacks and additional drinks throughout the day. Children should come dressed ready to play outside and participate in sports activities each day. Please send them in sneakers and socks, with a change of clothes in their backpacks if needed. Once enrolled in the program, additional details will be sent out about field trips.

Is this a nut-free program?
Children are asked to bring their own lunch each day and those lunches may contain nuts. Please let us know in advance if you child has any food allergies so that we may make our nurse aware. All snacks that we provide will be nut-free.