Thesis Title

Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Camp Barnabas: Therapy or Fun?

Date of Graduation

Summer 2006


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Camp Barnabas on children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Camp Barnabas is a Christian camp that strives to provide children with disabilities a traditional camp experience. The specific Autistic Spectrum Disorders included in this study were Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was disbursed and completed by 52 primary caregivers of children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder upon their arrival to Camp Barnabas in the summer of 2005. A month following the campers return home, the same evaluation tool was sent to the homes of the selected sample of subjects to be completed by the primary caregiver and returned to the researcher. Of the original 52 primary caregivers, 28 follow-up questionnaires were completed and returned to the research, a 54% response rate. The results of the data analysis demonstrated no statistically significant improvements in the areas of speech, language, and communication; sociability; sensory and cognitive awareness; or health, behavior, and physical from pre-camp to post-camp. However, improvements in the areas of speech, language, and communication; sociability; and health, physical, and behavior may indicate a clinical improvement. Implications for further research include the design of a different evaluation tool, larger sample population, and division of data based on specific diagnoses of each camper.


Autistic Spectrum Disorders, autism, pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, therapeutic camp

Subject Categories



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