The Camps on TRACKS program is a peer-mediated social skills program designed to increase social interactions and inclusion for campers with disabilities and social challenges (Sperry et al., 2010). It is implemented by teaching peers the skills they need to interact with these campers, in order to make camp a fun and rewarding experience for all (Sperry et al., 2010). Teaching peers is essential to the approach, as it allows them to naturally prompt for appropriate social skills in the camp setting. In these peer-mediated interventions, peers who are typically developing are trained to initiate social interactions with and respond to social interactions from their peers with disabilities (Battaglia & Radley, 2014).
Camps on TRACKS is named for the skills that are taught to peers in a child-friendly acronym. These six components in the Camps on TRACKS program provide peers with strategies to interact with campers with social challenges.
1. Try Again (Persistence)
2. Right Thing (Correcting)
3. Assist (Prompting)
4. Congratulate (Reinforcement)
5. Keep Trying (Persistence)
6. Show (Modeling)
The Camps on TRACKS training program
ustifyThe Camps on TRACKS training program teaches camp staff best practices in supporting campers to make friends and how to interact with peers who may have social challenges. The Camps on TRACKS training is facilitated in five unique modules:
1. Introduction to the Camps on TRACKS program
2. Camper Awareness
3. Teaching TRACKS
4. Prompting Through Peers
5. Reward Systems
Peer-mediated approaches have many advantages over adult-mediated approaches, such as the abundance of peers, and the decrease in demands on adult interventionists (Battaglia & Radley, 2014). The skills can be practiced in multiple settings with multiple peers and incorporated into the natural context of daily activities, making them well suited to inclusive settings such as camp (Battaglia & Radley, 2014;Watkins et al., 2015). Research has shown peer-mediated strategies are effective in increasing various social skills such as joint attention, communication, initiations, and reciprocal conversations while decreasing inappropriate social interactions such as unresponsiveness, changing conversation topics, and inappropriate talking (Battaglia & Radley, 2014). Peer-mediated interventions have been shown to have positive generalization, maintenance, and social validity outcomes (Watkins et al., 2015).
For more information about the modules and exploring which training opportunities are best for you and your camp.