About The Quad
This summer, I am working as a Psychosocial Intern at The Quad Manhattan, a summer camp based in New York City (now online). The Quad was founded as a learning space for twice exceptional (2e) children, a term that Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman defines in his book Twice Exceptional:
Twice exceptional individuals demonstrate exceptional levels of capacity, competence, commitment, or creativity in one or more domains coupled with one or more learning difficulties. This combination of exceptionalities results in a unique set of circumstances. Their exceptional potentialities may dominate, hiding their disability; their disability may dominate, hiding their exceptional potentialities; each may mask the other so that neither is recognized or addressed. (7)
The Quad’s mission is to provide a space where gifted children with learning disabilities can gain the skills they need while still being challenged in a range of creative activities. Many of the learning deficits found in our campers are related to language and academic development, as well as social skills. Therefore, we tailor our support and approach to each child’s unique set of strengths difficulties.
As an intern, my job is to support campers during times of confusion and encourage them when they are inspired. This summer, I will be working with a team of educators, fellow interns, and psychologists to create learning plans for a core group of campers. My group is Core 1, which is for children aged 6-8.
I am currently in a two-week training period to grasp strategies for learning and behavioral interventions and techniques derived from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Although I will not be providing therapy, I will look for signs that indicate children need help during camp activities to make sure their needs are met and to avoid distress.
I have been assigned two campers within my core group with whom I will work more closely to develop a rapport and solutions to problems that arise. Throughout the summer, I will keep records of these campers’ progress in a case study, which I will complete with the help of my supervisors.
The Quad in a virtual setting
Due to the COVID-19, things will look a bit different this summer with our new online format and the added stresses of a pandemic. In training, we have been discussing the potential impact and foresee that while our campers may face fewer social challenges, they may also face a new set of complications arising from technology (i.e. glitching, leaving the Zoom call, playing video games off-screen). There may also be children whose family members have been infected with COVID-19 or impacted by the systemic racism that remains pervasive in our country, whether it be at the hands of the police, the healthcare system, or both.
While we cannot singlehandedly solve these larger societal problems, we will provide support and outlets for our campers so that they can process and decompress in a safe environment. The Quad’s long-term goal is to give the children the tools they need to thrive in a general education setting and in life beyond schooling.
Summer goals & excitement
My personal goals for the summer are to learn and implement new skills of my own, such as the various intervention techniques I am studying; learning how to map a child’s progress and structure a case study; making connections with other students and professionals in my field; getting a taste for the worlds of social work and school psychology; and finally, learning how to properly support kids who are struggling and finding solutions to support their unique needs.
After days of reading about my campers, I can’t wait to meet them when camp begins and to get to know them throughout the summer!