About Us

Overview and History

The Diamond Summer Program was founded in 1997 in Far Rockaway, NY. The program was established with a mission to improve the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and other childhood behavioral disorders by:

Utilizing research based interventions in a natural setting
Training parents to improve the child/parent relationship in the home environment
Prepare children for behavioral success in school environments

The program, which is based on a landmark study funded by the NIMH, is specifically designed to improve children’s social behavior; friendship skills; academic competence; problem-solving skills; self-esteem; classroom behavior; sports competence; rule following; home behavior; and anger control.

The program has served well over 300 children the past 12 years. In past summers, children and their families came to us from Long Island, Queens, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Sunset Park, Riverdale, NYC, Detroit, Los Angeles, Monsey, Lakewood, Passaic, and Miami. 

The Diamond Summer Program is currently the only one of two evidence-based summer programs in the New York metropolitan area to treat children with ADHD and related disorders. The Diamond Summer Program includes academic and recreational programming, with behavior modification procedures used in a natural environment to consistently reinforce appropriate social skills throughout the course of the day in all settings.

The Diamond Summer Program is a reward-based program which emphasizes individual achievement and success. It includes a variety of set activities that facilitate peer/group participation through which behavioral principles are applied. While the children are engaged in various activities (team sport, arts and crafts, swimming, etc.), their behavior is shaped through a point system. Children earn points for appropriate pro-social behavior and lose points for maladaptive behavior.

In addition to the point system, the program works on individual social skill development by:

  • Dividing into groups by the need of the individual child.
  • Stimulate independent problem solving skills by making children resolve real life challenges
  • Develop child self awareness to their own physical and emotional signs of frustration and anger to help promote frustration tolerance. 
  • Team building activities and exercises which work on specific skills that are required for peer development such as trust, sportsmanship, effective communication skills.
  • We use cognitive approaches and methodologies to help children use thoughts to control their emotions and then reinforce performance in natural environments.
  • Staying on topic, perspective taking, recognizing other’s interests, turn-taking.

After an appropriate baseline is established for the individual child, progress is systematically monitored and recorded through performance within the point system, individual goals, daily clinical staff meetings and tracked continuously throughout the day and throughout the summer. Progress is rewarded in both the camp and home settings. Weekly field trips are used as the major incentive for children who improve 20% from week too week. Field trips are “off-site” so that the skills learned in the program can be practiced in more natural settings.

Moreover, in the SPK, there is predictability and immediate feedback; the daily schedule does not change, and individual goals are established and reviewed with the children daily, so children know how they are progressing towards rewards. Not only is there consistency within the camp environment, but the consistency extends into the home environment via weekly parent training sessions and a home behavior plan that mimics the individualized behavior plans set up for each child at camp.