SJU’s Kinney Center to Provide Unique Summer Experience

Camp brings together kids with autism and their neuro-typical peers

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (June 27, 2013) —For most kids, summer brings camp experiences that provide an opportunity to make friends, learn or hone a skill and keep busy. The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University believes these opportunities are especially important for youth on the autism spectrum. For the fourth year, the Kinney Center will offer a five-week summer camp designed to provide fun, stimulate imaginations and encourage social growth for all children by bringing together those with autism and their “neuro-typical peers.”

“Children learn best from each other and in natural environments,” says Michelle Rowe, Ph.D., executive director for academic programs at the Kinney Center and professor of health services. “Campers with ASD get to witness first-hand the types of social skills expected of them at a particular age. The activities we provide offer rich sensory experiences, lots of opportunities for interacting socially and the chance to build self-esteem and confidence.”

Beginning July 1, 60 campers will arrive on SJU’s Maguire Campus for a summer experience unlike any other. Gabriel Hall will serve as home base for the campers, who will be organized into age groups ranging from three to 14 years. All participants will have customized, visual schedules and/or written lists of what they will be doing each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will also have choices for activities, which include swimming, cooking, dancing, sensory activities, crafts and more. Each child with autism will have one-on-one support provided by trained Kinney Center SCHOLARS, who are undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in the field of autism.

For the second year, Camp Kinney will offer campers who participated in prior years and are now older than 14 the chance to come back and serve as aides to the counselors. These auxiliary campers will help serve lunch, assist with arts and crafts projects, and perform a number of other tasks.

Camp highlights this year include visits from Philadelphia Zoo animals, Philadelphia Circus Arts, the Franklin Institute, the Phillie Phanatic and the Eagles Book Mobile.

Camp will culminate with a live talent show at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, in the Cardinal John P. Foley Campus Center.

In addition to summer camp, the Kinney Center offers after-school and evening social skills programs for children and adolescents, a sports program, an academic minor for SJU students, life and social skills programming for adults with ASD, sibling support and more.

For additional information, contact the Kinney Center at 610-660-2170 or

Background: Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University advances the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a demanding, yet supportive, educational experience. One of only 152 schools with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and AACSB business school accreditation, Saint Joseph's is home to 4,650 traditional undergraduate day students, 700 College of Professional and Liberal Studies adult undergraduates, and 3,600 graduate and doctoral students. Steeped in the 450-year Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, Saint Joseph's was named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for General Community Service. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.


Media Contact

Kelly Welsh, Director of Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences, 610-660-1385,

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