Camp Jabiru

Camp Jabiru® and Developmental FX

We are excited to share an article about our work at Camp Jabiru that was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. Integrated Occupational Therapy Camp for Children with Regulation/Sensory Processing Differences: Preliminary Evaluation by Tracy M. Stackhouse, Hannah K Burke, Colleen G. Hacker, Lynette M. Burke, Carolyn E. Hui, Beth Osten, and Shelly J. Lane, published October 6, 2022. Click here to read the article.

Summer camp, sleep away camp, adventure camp, friendship camp – call it what you will, but a campCamp Jabiru logo experience often serves as a pivotal developmental moment for children. When a child struggles with their development, camp can be difficult to access due to the needed supports required to attempt such a huge milestone. And yet, these same children are likely to benefit significantly when the ‘just right’ camp experience can be accessed. This is the aim of Camp Jabiru® – and even loftier, Camp Jabiru® is an intensive, fun, therapeutic camp opportunity aimed to exquisitely meet each camper’s individual needs to allow them to benefit from this valued childhood experience. 

Children standing in a circle with their hands raised above their headsCamp Jabiru® was started by Colleen Hacker of the Sensory Gym in Hobartville, NSW, Australia. This camp is dedicated to children who struggle with processing information and creates an intensive weeklong experience of nature-based occupational therapy.  DFX is proud and grateful to be involved in Camp Jabiru®, and the fidelity model of care was developed by our co-founder, Tracy Stackhouse, and used in collaboration with the Camp Jabiru® team.

Camp Jabiru is not only a camp for the 125 children who attend but also a training camp that brings therapists together in a shared environment dedicated to enhancing clinical practice in several ways:

  1. University students training to become occupational therapists attend camp as interns and are exposed to excellence in clinical care, often inspiring these students to select a career focus in pediatric care.
  2. Practicing clinicians can opt to attend camp as a practicum, where daily didactic trainings as well as clinical dialogues accompany the immersion in the daily intensive treatment happening with and for the children, this practicum experience is co-run with Lynette Burke of the Sensory Gym and with DFX Executive Director, Tracy Stackhouse.
  3. All of the therapists who come to provide the intensive treatment for the children as group leaders.

The camp model is set up to establish an intensive treatment that is goal-focused and targeted to each individual child. The model that supports this is proprietary to Developmental FX – the SpIRiT model – and is now supporting a research effort at Camp Jabiru in collaboration with Dr. Shelly Lane at the University of Newcastle. 

Map of Australia with red pin for Camp Jabiru

Additionally, the camp draws master clinicians. In 2019, Caroline Hui, Beth Osten and Sheila Frick were involved in clinical mentoring, and DFX’s Tracy Stackhouse, Juliana Padilla, Rachel Malmquist, and Kelsey Forbringer were able to serve in key roles. This April, Tracy will be returning as lead facilitator/mentor for the practicum program!

Our involvement at Camp Jabiru is a wonderful way to address our mission – it allows us to not only impact the children directly involved in the camp each year but also each of the 100 students and clinicians gain mastery over advanced treatment planning and implementation, taking this knowledge forward to each of their own caseloads and practices, the multiplier effect we seek to create is blooming beautifully via this collaboration Down Under! 

For more information, see the article: Integrated Occupational Therapy Camp for Children with Regulation/Sensory Processing Differences: Preliminary Evaluation, published in the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy on October 6, 2022. Print citation: Stackhouse TM, Burke HK, Hacker CG, et al. Integrated Occupational Therapy Camp for Children with Regulation/Sensory Processing Differences: Preliminary Evaluation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2023;90(1):25-33. doi:10.1177/00084174221129941.