Summer camps 2023: A guide to the best camps for children with additional needs

Everyone can enjoy some fun in the sun with these camps

Keeping the kids amused can be a difficult task at the best of times but during the summer months when they are off school for weeks on end, it can be even harder – so it is a not a surprise that many parents find themselves relying on the array of camps and activities talking place all across the country.

Whether the children are sporty, artistic, theatrical or computer mad, there is bound to be something which will cater to them. But, there are also thousands of youngsters with additional needs who will also be craving a bit of excitement and diversion during the long break from school. We have rounded up a few options to ensure everyone enjoys some fun in the sun.

The Sport Ireland Campus Inclusive Kids’ Camp offers a unique and inclusive sporting experience for children of all abilities, aged six to 14 years. This inclusive multi-sport camp is focused on developing physical and sporting ability, as well as providing an opportunity to socialise and make new friends in a structured, fun-filled and welcoming environment.

The camps are organised in partnership with Team Ireland and Allianz and the kids get free branded T-shirt as well as a bottle and bag.


With a team of experienced and CARA trained coaches, this camp provides children with the opportunity to train and play in the same world-class facilities as their Team Ireland sporting heroes.

The five-day camps take place during July and August in Dublin and run from 10am to 12.30pm, at a cost of €70 per week. For more information, visit

Active Connections will be running its Ember Camp in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council this summer.

The water sports-based camp will be run from the Royal St George Yacht Club and participants will be supported to try out Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand up Paddle boarding.

It is open to young people aged 10 years and older with a range of physical disabilities and neuro diversities, as Active Connections aims “to remove the barrier that people with disabilities face when trying to engage in activities others take for granted”.

There are also a series of holiday camps taking place during the summer and from September to June, the organisation runs Saturday camps which are supported by the HSE and are an alternative to home respite.

Prices vary, so for more information visit

ChildVision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children, will host its Summer Programme 2023 from Monday, July 3rd, through to Friday, July 7th.

The five-day sports and recreation programme for children and young people with a vision impairment is aimed at “empowering each young person to be physically active, improve their health and independence and help them to continue to be involved in sport and physical activity in their communities and beyond after the summer programme”.

This year’s summer programme will take place in Drumcondra, Dublin 9. The camp is for young people between the ages of 10-23 and the unique summer programme costs €200, which includes all activities and snacks.

Early booking is essential to avoid disappointment, visit

Galway Autism Partnership will be running a packed schedule of clubs, camps and activities throughout the summer months for teenagers and young adults with autism.

The line-up will include its teen hang out, adult meet up, like minds, baking and life skills, Drumadore and Dungeons and Dragons. The month of July will bring see a full schedule of weekly activities for preschool and primary school age groups, including low-high support clubs, Art, the Babbling Book Club, Music Generation, sensory sessions, art and lots more.

GAP will also host a family fun day, providing an opportunity for people to meet up and enjoy a day of fun filled activities at GAP House.

Prices vary depending on activity, so for more information visit

Neurodiversity Ireland is a registered charity established last year by neurodivergent parents of neurodivergent children, hoping to “break down stigmas and promote inclusion of all children in schools and across the structures of life”.

The group ran its first activity camp last summer – which ran for two weeks at the Aviva Stadium – and under the eye of occupational therapist Jack Cairns, it was supported by Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) occupational therapy department, in particular Dr Katie Cremin and her student volunteers.

Currently running an after school club with Jack Cairns and Megan O’Rourke of TCD, called Occupation Regulation, the group has also organised dance classes for children with sensory differences and plan art, drama and other activities which support children with additional needs to build confidence via shared play and interests.

This summer, a nine-week camp schedule is planned at Blackrock village centre and is open to neurodivergent children from four to 13 years of age and will consist of a busy schedule of fun and exciting activities. The structure and model of the line-up aims to ensure that all children can fully participate in activities which are centred around large scale movement, messy play and forming friendships. Organisers say that parents of children at previous events have reported “smiles, chatter, happiness, calmness, emotional regulation and willingness to try new things” following their experience.

The inclusive camps are expensive to run due to the level of professional support provided and the low ratios of additional needs assistants, nurses and therapists to children but the charity has kept the cost to a maximum of €200 per week as they will cover extra costs.

For more information, visit

Remember Us provides a unique social outlet to people with special needs and their families in the north Fingal region of Dublin. Although based in Balbriggan, members come from many other areas along the East Coast, however.

Its aim is to provide a social environment for people with special needs, where they can learn, form friendships and have fun. It is open to everyone aged four and up and the six week summer camp will have a variety of different activities each day which will be tailored to suit the age and needs of the participants.

Prices vary so for more information, visit

Bricks4Kidz are offering summer camps in various venues around the country which are suitable for youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12 who love creating and building with Lego.

Throughout July and August, the weekly multisensory, hands-on camps, which run from 10am to 2pm daily, are aimed at helping children to become more creative, use their imagination and enjoy the benefits of working with their hands.

The camp costs €145 – for more information, visit

Balance Summer Camp in Cork is aimed at facilitating fun for children and young adults with moderate to severe physical and intellectual disabilities.

Running for four weeks in July, the activities, for participants aged seven and over, includes music, dance, sports, cooking, swimming, martial arts and horse riding and will also involve day trips to various places of interest in the locality.

The aim of the camp is to help children build self confidence and self esteem as well as learning new life skills and develop their social skills in a safe and inclusive environment, through games, social outings and new friendships.

The inclusive camp costs €20 per child, per day and covers activities, entrance fees, transport costs and swimming lessons.

For more information, visit

Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership (KRSP) is providing an extensive, inclusive summer programme for children with disabilities which will involve a diverse programme of activities.

The highlight is two weeks of summer camp activities packed with sports and fun events, all of which is made possible due to a group of volunteers who will buddy up with the children on the programme.

KRSP have the support of development officers from a number of national governing bodies. Kilkenny GAA Centre, Kilkenny City and County Tennis, Kilkenny Gymnastics Academy and Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club host sessions on the camp.

It is also running a week of swim camps for two different age groups of children with a disability and a programme of activities in conjunction with Castlecomer Discovery Park.

Prices vary so for more information, visit

  • If you have a camp to add to the listing, please email

*This article was ammended on June 2nd, 2023

Arlene Harris

Arlene Harris

Arlene Harris is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in health, lifestyle, parenting, travel and human interest stories