Talisman Programs Celebrates 30 Years of Service to Children, Teens and Young Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and Other Special Needs

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Talisman Programs reflects on the past 30 years of giving youth with special needs the same opportunities for fun and learning as other youth, and looks forward to a rewarding future for its campers and their families.

We are committed to growing and fine-tuning our programs so that children, teens and young adults with Asperger’s, ADHD and related issues have the same opportunities as any other child.

Talisman Programs, summer camps for young people who have learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism, is proud to celebrate its 30-year anniversary.

Talisman Programs started in 1980 as a small, privately owned camp serving children who didn’t fit in with their peers. By 1990, the program developed an expertise in serving young people with ADD/ADHD, and over the next decade it blossomed into a haven for children with Asperger’s syndrome and related issues.

Thirty years after it opened its doors, Talisman now offers a wide variety of camps geared toward specific ages, diagnoses and interests. The different program areas include:

  •     Academic camps
  •     Campus-based programs
  •     Off-campus wilderness expeditions
  •     Young adult programs for those who want to go away to camp but are aging out of traditional camps and have different developmental needs than other young adults

Every year brings new opportunities to the campers at Talisman. This summer campers are enjoying trips to Yellowstone and Alaska as well as other adventures designed to give them the same opportunity to interact with the rest of the world as their peers, but with the extra support needed to make the experience successful for them.

In addition to continually expanding its programs, Talisman has worked tirelessly to create the best camp experience possible. It recently renovated and winterized its cabins, and ensures that nutritious meals, daily exercise and a consistent schedule keep the campers energized for each full day of fun and learning. The staff has also introduced campers to “green” living by planting a garden and harvesting some of the produce for their meals.

Another exciting development is the creation of Talisman Academy, a co-ed, year-round school for teens with Asperger’s or high-functioning autism. For over three years, Talisman has operated Southeast Journeys, a semester-length school program for teens with Asperger’s syndrome, which has grown steadily with great interest among parents. This academic program is now moving to its own spacious campus under the name Talisman Academy.

“Over the years, we’ve looked for new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the families we serve,” said Linda Tatsapaugh, MS, the Executive Director of Talisman Programs. “Many years ago one of our programs branched off into a specialized school for boys with ADHD and learning disabilities called Stone Mountain School, and now we have the pleasure of branching out again with Talisman Academy. Given the lack of appropriate services in most schools for teens with Asperger’s, Talisman Academy will meet an important need.”

As much as Talisman is a place of growth for young people, it is also a place of growth for the staff. People who want to work with kids with special needs go to Talisman to share their passion and gain hands-on experience. Many continue on with Talisman’s camps or academic program, in some cases maintaining their employment for 10 to 20 years.

“We are so grateful for the loyalty, longevity and dedication of our staff,” said Tatsapaugh. “Many staff members grow up with us, starting as campers and returning to Talisman as counselors.”

In the coming years, Talisman will continue to develop its programs based on the latest research and best practices to give children opportunities to learn new skills outside of school in a safe, structured and fun environment.

“We are committed to growing and fine-tuning our programs so that children, teens and young adults with Asperger’s, ADHD and related issues have the same opportunities as any other child,” said Tatsapaugh.

About Talisman Programs

Talisman Programs offers summer camps for children with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism, as well as Talisman Academy, a school program for teens Asperger’s. With a highly structured daily schedule, a small staff-to-student ratio, in-depth social and life skills training, and plenty of fun and adventure, Talisman has been a first choice of families since 1980.

Talisman Programs is a program of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps, allowing professionals and families the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families.

For more information, please call (866) 515-5202 or visit Talisman Programs.

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Aaron McGinley
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