Summer Treatment Program
The nationally acclaimed Summer Treatment Program (STP) at the Center for Children and Families is a comprehensive summer camp program for children with ADHD and related behavioral, emotional and learning challenges.
The STP program has successfully helped more than 2,500 children and families and is composed of evidence-based intensive treatments incorporated into an eight-week therapeutic summer camp setting. Group and tailored individual treatment plans are focused on improving problem-solving, academic functioning and social skills—while also incorporating recreational, age-appropriate games and group activities.
Parents take an active role in their children's treatment by participating in weekly parent training sessions, where they develop the skills needed to change their child's behavior at home and assist in their progress.
The STP has been used in clinical trials conducted under the auspices of the National Institute of Mental Health and has been named a Model Program in Child and Family Mental Health by the American Psychological Association and SAMHSA. Additionally, the STP has been named program of the year by CHADD, the national parent advocacy group for children with ADHD.
The STP is also listed in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
- Development of the child's problem solving and social skills, and of the social awareness necessary to enable him/her to get along better with other children
- Improvement of the child's learning skills and academic performance
- Development of the child's abilities to follow instructions, to complete tasks that he/she commonly fails to finish, and to comply with adults' requests
- Improvement of the child's self-esteem by developing competencies in areas necessary for daily life, such as interpersonal, recreational, academic, and other task-related areas
- Instruction for parents in how to develop, reinforce, and maintain these positive changes
- If appropriate, evaluation of the effects of medication on the child's academic and social functioning in a natural setting
Additional programs are also available under the STP for children with ADHD interested in or currently taking medication, children entering kindergarten with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a Healthy-Lifestyle Intervention Program for young children.
Check back for 2017 STP Dates.
Center for Children and Families
Children ages 4 to 12 are eligible to participate in the program. Enrollment is limited and participants are selected based on an evaluation conducted by program staff. Psychological tests required for admission are performed by program staff, but recent testing from other sources may be acceptable in some cases. Children with ADHD, oppositional disorders, aggression, learning problems, or children with mixed behavior and learning problems, are evaluated. Referrals can be made by school personnel, mental health professionals, physicians or parents. Those children who meet certain criteria are offered admission.
How to Apply
To initiate the enrollment process, interested parents or professionals should call (305) 348-0477.
Enrollment is limited and parents are encouraged to apply as early as possible! Please note that the STP is a daytime program only and does not provide housing for children.
Fees for the STP vary and is in part funded by The Children’s Trust. The Children's Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County. During the application and screening process, each parent has an opportunity to meet with a representative from the Center for Children and Families, who can answer questions concerning financial aspects associated with the STP.
Additional Information on the Summer Treatment Program
Treatments includes individually adapted reward and response-cost programs; training in group problem solving, social, and contracting skills; instruction in overcoming learning deficits; strategies for improving concentration, task completion, and self concept; time out, and a daily feedback system. Treatment plans and strategies are continuously monitored and modified as necessary.
A final report is sent to parents and referring professionals at the end of the program, which includes detailed information regarding the effects of these interventions and recommendations for future treatment.
Parent Training Groups
Parents form an integral part of STP by participating in weekly group evening sessions. Parent sessions are designed to help parents with the following:
- develop skills to reduce problem behaviors,
- to improve their child's task skills and relationships with parents and peers;
- and to maintain and extend the gains made in the STP to the child's natural at-home environment.
If indicated, the efficacy of medication treatment for the child is evaluated. A comprehensive and carefully controlled evaluation is conducted covering all major areas of the child's functioning (i.e., social behavior, academic performance and productivity, and self concept) that could be affected by medication treatment. By evaluating medication effects in conjunctions with other treatments, the effectiveness of combining medication with those treatments is addressed. Following assessment of medication effects, the program provides the referring physician and parents with a report detailing the child's response to medication and makes specific recommendations regarding the possible usefulness of psychoactive medication for continued treatment.
The program is implemented by highly trained, undergraduate paraprofessional therapists, students pursing advanced degrees in psychology, and educational specialists. Supervision and oversight are carried out by highly experienced staff members who have been conducting treatment programs for ADHD children for over 20 years. The psychosocial and behavioral aspects of the program are supervised by doctoral level psychologists. The medical aspects of program are supervised by developmental pediatricians and/or child psychiatrists. While in the classroom, children are supervised by a teacher and a developmental aide. For more information on working in the STP, please see the STP Internships page.
Program Evaluation and Investigation
The STP uses only treatments that have been well documented and shown to be effective through research; however, program staff continue to evaluate treatment effectiveness. Data are gathered via several methods, including observational, psychometric, neuropsychological, and rating measures, evaluated to determine individual and group responses to treatments.
To help further the understanding of behavioral problems in children, information is gathered from children and their families enrolled in the program. Children may be asked to participate in a variety of programs, including performance measures of computerized tasks involving different aspects of learning, attention, and memory, or assessing how children interact with one another in competitive task situations. Similarly, parents may be asked to complete rating scales or to be observed in controlled settings that measure different aspects of family functioning. In order to maintain confidentiality and a complete understanding of these projects, parents are asked to sign consent forms that describe each project prior to their child's participation in the project.
The acute response to the STP has been evaluated in a large group of ADHD children over a period of five years. Parent and staff ratings of effectiveness were uniformly positive. Over 95% of parents rated both their children and themselves to have benefited from the STP and said that they would send their child to the program again if given the opportunity 99% of parents said that they would recommend the program to other parents. 96% of parents said that their children not only improved but also liked the STP. These positive evaluations undoubtedly contribute to the very low dropout rate (only 3%) that the STP had over the 5-year period.
The STP has been replicated at many sites around North America, including both community and academic settings. All sites have reported the same positive clinical results and parent satisfaction that have characterized the results at our site. The STP has been a component of psychosocial treatment for children in clinical prevention trials funded by NIMH, NIDA, and SAMHSA-CSAP, with similar positive results.
What Parents and Professionals Say About the Summer Treatment Program
"The STP is the best treatment program in the world. You know the old saying, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'. I modeled my own program on the STP."
-James Swanson, PhD, Director, Child Development Center and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine
"The STP is a remarkable program—all encompassing, thorough, and incredibly integrative—that targets those skills and problems most in need of remediation in youngsters with ADHD. Staff, families, and children themselves are quite taken with the strides that are made in the 8 week period—all in all an impressive behavioral program that I highly endorse."
-Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
"The greatest thing about the Summer Treatment Program, and the greatest thing for us to see, is how happy and enthusiastic he is coming here. He looks forward to it, he is eager, he plays hard, he has fun, he learns, he succeeds, he feels better. We can see his growth and we see him feeling better about who he is."
Mother of an 8-year-old boy
"The Summer Treatment Program is a very positive experience for kids, but it is also a positive experience for the family because you come and get positive reinforcement from the counselors, from the supervisors, and the child is not beaten down every day by his peers. It just follows across all the line of your life, from family and home to being out socially."
-Mother of a 10-year-old boy
"I feel like I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel for the very first time. It's a long tunnel but no longer a dark one."
Mother of a 7-year-old boy
"It was a real turning point—the best summer of our family's life!"
Father of an 8-year-old boy