The summer can be a fun time for kids to let loose and enjoy themselves in the outdoors. However, for some students, especially those with special needs, this season can be a frustrating one where much of the knowledge gained in classes is lost. This can be upsetting for parents and children alike and can lead to much lost time when school starts again. Here are four ways that parents can ensure that these special education summer learning concerns do not come up for them.
Consider Extended School Year
Many children with IEPs are eligible for an extended school year, or ESY, services. Each school district sets its own rules for who it accepts into ESY programs. However, in general, children who are determined to lose certain skills that are hard or lengthy to replace will be approved for ESY. The need for ESY should be discussed at an IEP meeting during the school year. At the end of the summer break, consider having your child assessed to determine if he or she would benefit from ESY next year.
Enroll in a Summer Camp
A summer camp for special needs children is a bit less intensive than ESY is and places children in a fun environment. However, this choice is good for keeping up children’s social skills and for helping them with fine and gross motor skills.
Keep Summer Learning at Home
Some children may not need specialized summer services through the school district but may benefit from one-on-one time with their parents. Parents should keep the same routine during the summer that they do during the school year and set aside small chunks of time throughout the summer for refreshing certain skills.
Think outside the Academic Box
Parents can also consider other options that are in their neighborhoods for exciting learning adventures. Nature is a great resource during the warmer months. Some neighborhood parks host summer education programs that are filled with sensory experiences.