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Making Programs Safe and Accessible to All Girls (Camp Bonnie Brae 2007)
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Making Programs Safe and Accessible to All Girls (Camp Bonnie Brae 2007)


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  • Movement games – vestibular (where is my body) Prep time – tactile Snacks – perprioceptive (how do I use my body) Catch – visual Noise – auditory Smells – olfactory Tastes -gustatory
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    • 1. Making Programs Accessible and Safe for All Girls By Skip and Tink 2007
    • 2. Ritz Monument  Was it easy to build your monument without all the tools?  Was it easy to build your monument once you had all the tools?  Before you knew there was cheese, did you know to ask for it?  How would it have felt to struggle with the crackers alone?  How does this exercise reflect some of our girls’ struggles?
    • 3. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ~Benjamin Franklin
    • 4. Girls come to us with all sorts of identities and challenges that impact the way they experience camp. Some of these identities and challenges will be disclosed, many will not. It is important that we create our programs such that ALL girls can succeed and feel included. There are many ways to make our programming accessible to all girls without doing anything too far out of the ordinary. What is a small effort on our parts may make all the difference to a girl.
    • 5. Mobility Challenges  Persons who have mobility impairments have some level of difficulty with movement. This may be further explained as difficulty in ambulation (e.g. paraplegia, hemiparesis) or joint range of motion (e.g. hip flexion contractures, joint fusion)  Mobility impairment may be temporary like a broken bone, or permanent like paralysis.
    • 6. Mobility Challenges  If a girl has known mobility issues, ask her about what their needs and expectations are.  Encourage girls to participate to the best of their ability. Place no judgment on the level to which a girl can participate.  Offer periods of rest during activities that require a lot of physical exertion.  Sometimes a person with mobility needs may appreciate having a buddy. A girl can be paired with another girl for encouragement and assistance.  Be creative. There are many ways to modify activities so that everyone can find a way to participate.
    • 7. Learning Disabilities  Any of various disabilities of the basic cognitive and psychological processes involved in using language or performing mathematical calculations. Learning disabilities are not caused by low intelligence, emotional disturbance, or physical impairment (as of hearing). Dyslexia is a common learning disability.  Affects 6 to 10 million children.  A learning disability is NOT the same as being retarded.
    • 8. Learning Disabilities  Explain directions carefully, simply, and slowly.  Encourage children to ask questions. If no questions are asked, review the important points, step-by-step.  Have the child experiencing difficulty sit close to you so you can give extra help when necessary.  Try various methods to see how the girls learn best, and can be most engaged in activities.  If you are reading from a book or manual, point out where you are in the text.  Be patient. Children with learning disabilities need more time to think and complete tasks.  The breaking of any routine produces great anxiety. Provide security and structure.  Remind girls multiple times during the day of the schedule to help ease transition between activities.
    • 9. Sensory Integration Difficulties  Sensory experiences include touch, movement, body awareness, sight, sound, and the pull of gravity. The process of the brain organizing and interpreting this information is called sensory integration. In some children, the brain does not appropriately interpret this information, and thus the body requires more specific sensory input.  Affects up to 70% of the children with identified learning disabilities
    • 10. Sensory Integration Difficulties  Encourage movement games such as obstacle course  Allow “prep time” before dressing  Suggest chewy or crunchy snacks  Play catching games  Provide warning before loud noises if possible  Avoid unnecessary smells and spicy tastes
    • 11. Marginalized Social Identities  Girls are already coming into camp with one oppressed identity, that of biological sex. Beyond this, girls may find themselves in marginalized identity groups based on gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, class, religion, age, sexual orientation and ability.  Girls of marginalized social identities are teased and bullied more often, and thus may experience a high level of distress.
    • 12. Marginalized Social Identities  Biological Sex – Determination based on genitalia, chromosomes and hormones  Male, female, intersex  Gender – Internal sense of masculinity or femininity  Woman, man, transgender, genderqueer  Gender Expression – External presentation of masculinity or femininity  Butch, femme, androgynous  Race – Classification of people based on physical characteristics like skin color and face shape  Asian people, White people, Black people, People of Color  Ethnicity – The country or culture one comes from  Chinese, Jewish, African  Class – Socio-economic status, based on the amount of wealth one’s family has  Poor, Working class, Upper class  Religion – One’s faith community or set of spiritual beliefs  Christian, Agnostic, Buddist  Age – How long one has been alive  Child, Middle Aged, Senior  Sexual Orientation – Attraction to others of a sexual nature  Gay, Straight, Queer  Ability – One’s physical, mental and emotional level of ability  Able bodied, Temporarily Disabled, Differently Abled
    • 13. Marginalized Social Identities  Stop any conversation that blatantly makes a girl uncomfortable, bring the topic up later when everyone is in a better space to learn from one another.  Don’t make assumptions about any girl’s social identities.  Feel free to open up about your own social identities.  Remind girls that every girl has a right to control her own body and the ways that she presents it.  When stereotypes play into teasing, reference other more obviously wrong stereotypes to challenge the idea of stereotype as truth.  Suggest that girls focus on similarities between everyone in the group, rather than pointing out differences in one girl.
    • 14. Mental Health  Mental health is something that affects everyone. It relates to how you feel about yourself, how you feel about others and your ability to cope with life’s demands.  About one in five families are affected about by mental illnesses.  Girls are seven times more likely than boys to be depressed and twice as likely to attempt suicide.
    • 15. Mental Health  Provide girls with plenty of opportunity to be active.  Encourage girls to eat balanced meals and to get a full night of sleep.  Establish structure and routine, as well as clear expectations of girls’ behavior and participation.  Foster a safe atmosphere in which girls feel safe to share about their feelings and experiences with each other and adults.  Provide support for girls when they are having a challenging moment, day or even week.  Invite girls to set goals for themselves and praise them for jobs well done.
    • 16. Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress. ~Bruce Barton
    • 17. Sometimes we are simply not equipped to meet every girls’ needs. In these cases, challenging behavior may arise. However challenging the behavior may be, it is more important to maintain the girls’ privacy within the unit and to support her as well as possible. No disciplinary action should be taken at the onset of these behaviors. Some of the behavior noted is indicative of a medical problem, while others are ways of expressing certain emotions. All are serious enough to warrant more discussion.
    • 18. Acting Out  Acting out is defined as the release of out-of-control aggressive in order to gain relief from tension or anxiety.  Acting out is generally caused by an intense amount of emotion that a child feels unable to communicate verbally.  Give the child adequate opportunities to express feelings and experiences. Encourage journaling and taking space when a feeling is too intense. Normalize the need for self regulation, as these skills will assist children who don’t act out as well, and will help the child in need employ these tactics.
    • 19. Stealing/Lying  Stealing is defined as taking items without permission, and lying is defined as being deliberately deceitful.  Stealing and lying may be a thrill seeking behavior. It may also be an attempt to get attention, or to acquire wanted items or avoid consequences.  When a child is caught stealing or lying, encourage the child to come forth with the truth, and to make amends for the behavior. This includes apologies, returning stolen items, and committing to appropriate behavior in the future.
    • 20. Sexualized Behaviors  Sexualized behavior is defined as behavior that is inappropriately sexual in nature, often explicit language, body posturing or simulation of sexual acts.  Sexualized behavior may be an attention-getting behavior utilized to communicate confusion around sex, sexual orientation, and attraction, or an effort to draw attention to the “out of control” feeling the child may be experiencing. Sexualized behaviors may also be the result of previous sexual abuse.  Do not probe the child for a disclosure of abuse. Explain that certain behaviors are inappropriate at camp, and help cue the child to more appropriate ways to express the underlying feelings.
    • 21. Disordered Eating Habits  Disordered eating habits are defined as the restriction of food intake, cycling through periods of binging and purging or overeating until she is uncomfortably full.  Disordered eating can be caused by a distorted body image, feeling out of control of one’s body, or the pressure to have the “ideal body”.  Model appropriate eating habits at meals, and educate about the importance of healthy eating. In older girls, it may be helpful to inquire into the reasoning behind the behavior.
    • 22. Depression  Depression is defined as a period of prolonged sadness and may be characterized by lack of energy, disturbance in sleep patterns, withdrawal from friends/family, emotional outbursts or thoughts of death/suicide.  Depression can occur when a child feels overwhelmed by social, family or other issues. Feelings of low self esteem and lack of agency are often co-morbid with depression.  Problem solve with the child about situations that are currently causing her distress.  Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits, good hygiene, and engaging in program activities.
    • 23. Self Injurious Behaviors  Self-injury (also termed self-mutilation, self-harm or self- abuse) is defined as the deliberate, repetitive, impulsive, non- lethal harming of one’s self. Self-injury includes but is not limited to cutting, burning, and punching self or objects.  Self-injurers commonly report they feel empty inside, over or under stimulated, unable to express their feelings, lonely, not understood by others, and fearful of intimate relationships and adult responsibilities. Self-injury is their way to cope with or relieve painful or hard-to-express feelings and is generally not a suicide attempt.  First and foremost the injury must receive the necessary first aid or medical attention. In the process, it may be helpful to ask the girl what feelings preceded the behavior. Attend to her with the utmost discretion.
    • 24. Enuresis  Enuresis (also known as wetting) is defined as inappropriate urinating by a child past toilet- training age, during awake or asleep hours.  Enuresis may be caused by a urinary tract infection, or by the voluntary holding of urine. It is also associated with ADHD in girls.  Clean up the accident quickly and discretely. Do not discipline the child, as they are likely already experiencing a great amount of shame. Encourage to go to the bathroom more often during the day and before bed.
    • 25. Encopresis  Encopresis (also known as soiling) is defined as inappropriate defecating by a child past toilet- training age, generally during awake hours. It is often characterized by a non-chalance attitude on behalf of the child.  90% of cases are caused by constipation  Clean up the accident quickly and discretely. Encourage the child to eat fiber rich foods at meals such as fresh fruits, dried fruits like prunes and raisins, dried beans, vegetables, and high-fiber cereal and to go to the bathroom more often after meals.
    • 26. Resources  Contemporary Pediatrics  ENotes  Kids’ Health  King County  MedLine Plus  National Institute of Mental Health  New York State Department of Health  NYU Child Study Center  S.A.F.E. Alternatives  Sensory Integration International  University of Illinois Extension  WebMD