Summer Camp for Pediatric Stroke Survivors

Mar 12, 2024

By Tricia Plumb

How can physicians, medical providers, children, and families come together for a few days of education and fun for everyone?

Enter Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas, an accessible camp for children with disabilities.

Last summer, I went to this camp for children of all ages and abilities. The camp experience was organized by a patient advocacy foundation for an autoimmune disorder, which in the early stages can mimic a pediatric stroke. Both stroke and some autoimmune disorders can cause lasting motor impairments. I kept thinking how wonderful a camp like this would be for the pediatric stroke survivors I care for.

Morgan’s Wonderland camp is a true summer camp for families. All abilities are welcomed. There are adaptive modalities for rock climbing, challenge courses, ziplining, swings, and archery. The ranch has adaptive horseback riding. The stockyard is filled with goats, pigs, dogs, and cats.

Although summers in Texas are steamy, there are plenty of ways to chill out: adaptive pools with a lazy river, indoor crafts/photography, and an indoor field house for sports. All types of bicycles are at your fingertips. In the evenings, the activities continue with movies, campfires, and carnival games.

We invited children with a disability, along with their families and loved ones, to enjoy summer camp as a family. I was in awe of all the children playing. There were no thoughts of “I can’t.” Since this is a family-based camp, all families mingled with each other. I watched children and teens of all ages, and their siblings meet new people from all over the globe, realizing that a mobility challenge is a part of their life but not all their life.

The camp also served as an opportunity to come together as a community: exchanging life hacks, sharing education topics, and discussing future research. We took a little bit of time during siesta (afternoon rest typically during hot hours) to hold education sessions for the parents/guardians. We had break out groups by age range during the days. Topics included socializing, school, and rehabilitation. We also brought up what is new in therapies and future directions for research.

As a clinician, I found the camp inspirational on so many levels. Children and teens with a no hold back style of play. Parents connecting with other parents to know they aren’t alone with difficulties. Doctors and nurses interacting with their peers and families to learn more.

I encourage pediatric stroke advocacy groups to learn more about Morgan’s Wonderland and other accessible camps. I suspect that many of the clinicians who are part of IPSO would love to participate and help kids not just survive but thrive!

Tricia Plumb, RN, MSN

Tricia Plumb, RN, MSN

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Tricia Plumb started as a Research Nurse/ Coordinator in 2006. All of her research time has been a part of the UT Southwestern and Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas. Pediatric stroke research has kept her in touch with stroke survivors spanning decades. She even met some of their children when they came back for follow-ups and social visits. She stays active with Bike MS road cycling and competitive tennis.

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