Summer treatment camp for kids with ADHD in high demand

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the third summer in a row, Children's Mercy Hospital will offer a summer treatment program for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

In high demand, and one of only a handful in the country, the camp has grown from 12 kids the first year to 40 spots available this summer.

One of the camps success stories, 11-year old Will Thigpen, was diagnosed in third grade with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with anxiety. Thigpen attended the summer treatment camp, two summers ago, the first time it was offered. Wednesday, his family said they don't know where they would be without it.

"We are like so far from where we were 2 years ago and I think that all goes back to the summer treatment program," said Kristen Thigpen, Will's mom.

The program is eight weeks long and costs $4,000 dollars. Co-Director and Children's Mercy Hospital child psychologist Trista Perez Crawford said the camp is equivalent to six years of one-on-one behavioral therapy.

"Every summer we've walked away with kids saying, 'I have friends for the first time or here are some kids that are like me or that understand me.' For us that is hugely important because we know that part of their success as adolescents depends on them being able to hook up with a good peer group and make good decisions in group situations," said Perez Crawford.

The program is designed to help improve an ADHD child's behavior long-term by teaching them day-to-day skills to manage the disorder.

"We have a little saying that "pills don't teach skills," Perez Crawford said, adding, "The best treatment for school age kids with ADHD are combined treatments of the stimulant medication and behavioral therapy."

For Will and his parents, the skills learned are priceless.

"I can't imagine where we would have been if we hadn't had done it. I mean its like, it's not even a hesitation. I don't want to get emotional but it's what's best for your kid," said Thigpen.

"I'd say its working pretty well," Will added.

This summer, the Children's Mercy STP will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., June 2-July 25, at the Kansas City Christian School, Prairie Village Campus, 4801 West 79th St., in Prairie Village, Kan.

For more information about the Children's Mercy STP for Children with ADHD, camp fees, and how to enroll, please call (913) 696-5748 or visit

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  • Carrie Silverberg

    Wow! It is great to an article about ADHD that isn’t simply talking about the pros or cons (usually cons lately) of using medication to treat kids with ADHD. Or even worse… whether or not ADHD actually exists!!

    This summer program sounds wonderful as it is designed to help teach skills in addition to the use of medication. I cannot agree more strongly, that while medication is often (but not always) an important part of treatment, it does not teach the skills that these kids due to their executive functions do not typically learn the same way as other kids.

    It is heart breaking to think of how many kids do not have experiences such as this camp and continue to be unable to learn the necessary skills to make and keep friends as there are not many programs like this one.

    ADHD has a genetic component so often parents of kids with ADHD also suffer from ADHD themselves. It is common for these parents to only discover their own ADHD while having their children assessed, meaning they have had very little if any treatment or help to manage their own ADHD.

    Often parents are desperately in need of support and help to learn effective strategies to raise their children with ADHD in addition to learning some skills to make their own lives feel less chaotic.

    I have successfully worked with many such families from around the world. Teaching parents some new strategies and helping them through the process of advocating for their children at school has had hugely positive effects for many families. Helping adults learn how to better manage just one or two organizational issues that they have can decrease their own anxiety and stress hugely.

    So, if you are one of these families and cannot access a great summer camp program such as the one at Children’s Mercy Hospital, don’t despair, there are many other professionals who can help! Many such as myself offer services using Skype, Facetime and telephone so location is not an issue.

    Helping you, succeed with ADHD!
    Carrie Silverberg BA(Psyc), RECE
    ADHD Consultant and Coach

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