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Summer camps must be accessible to children with disabilities. Here's what to do if yours isn't

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio is putting dozens of summer camps on notice that they are required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Downey, who oversees enforcement of the ADA, says it’s been a few years since Ohio has sent out a reminder. He mailed the flyer to all the summer camps he could get an address for — about 90 of them in Southern Ohio.

“The ADA requires that summer camps (both private and those run by towns or municipalities) must provide reasonable modifications of their policies, practices and procedures when necessary to enable campers with disabilities to participate fully in camp programs," the flyer reads.

According to Downey, “It requires camps to make exceptions to policies to accommodate kids with disabilities. And it’s not enough for them to just say ‘Sorry, that’s the rules, no (guide) dogs or anything like that.’ "

The ADA covers lots of things, including children

Summer camps must make reasonable modifications for children with diabetes, including those who are insulin dependent.

Not doing that got a summer camp in Connecticut in trouble.

The 4H camp in New London, Connecticut, told a camper they would have to do their own diabetes care, including injections. According to Downey, the camp had “refused to train members of its staff to administer diabetes medications and actually denied admission to a child with diabetes without assessing them individually.” He says that is totally against the law.

Report suspected violations

You can file a complaint at www.ada.gov or with the U.S. Attorney’s’ Office for the Southern District of Ohio by emailing USAOHS.CivilRights@usdoj.gov.

The ADA Information Line is 800-514-0301

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.