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Embracing Diversity: A Parent’s Perspective

Apr 19 | What Different Can Do

Summer is just around the corner, and I find myself remembering the excitement, anticipation, and, if I’m honest, anxiety that came along with sending my neurodiverse (ND) child off to camp. Amidst all of those emotions, one thought kept me grounded: my child is just like yours.

  1. Shared Joys: At the heart of it all, ND children desire the same things as “mainstream” kids. Playing outside, indulging in ice cream treats, and splashing around in the pool. They crave friendship and inclusion. Neurodiversity doesn’t change these fundamental desires. They just wants to be a part of the fun, like any other kid.
  2. Anxiety and Uncertainty: As a parent, you can’t help but worry about the unknowns. Will he connect with his bunkmates? Will he enjoy the camp food? Will he make a friend? These are universal concerns shared by parents everywhere, regardless of their child’s neurology.
  3. The Power of Kindness: Like your child, mine thrives on kindness and acceptance. A friendly face, a helping hand, or a simple act of inclusion can make all the difference. It’s these gestures that truly make him feel welcomed and valued.
  4. Embracing Differences: Yes, my child may do things a little differently or at a different pace, but that doesn’t make him any less capable or deserving of friendship. I worry about the judgment of others, about his differences being seen as negative. But I hope that through understanding and empathy, we can shift the focus from differences to strengths.
  5. Championing Inclusivity: Despite any challenges he may face, my child will always be the first to extend a hand of friendship. He’ll be there to offer help, support, and a listening ear to anyone who needs it. His empathy knows no bounds, and I hope that others will see him not as different, but as someone with a unique perspective to offer.

When my son was young, there was no camp like Camp Southern Ground. I’m grateful that there are more spaces for ND kids now because, while our journeys may take different paths, we’re all ultimately striving for the same destination: a world where kindness, empathy, and inclusivity reign supreme. So here’s to a summer filled with shared joys, new friendships, and the celebration of diversity in all its forms. After all, my child is just like yours—a young person with dreams, hopes, and endless potential.


Kimberly serves Camp Southern Ground as our Director of Development, Foundations. With over 25 years of experience in the non-profit management and fundraising industry, her personal connection to neurodiversity, as a parent of a neurodiverse son, further fuels her passion for our mission. We are thrilled to have her commitment, expertise and enthusiasm enriching our team.