Summertime Challenges May Help You to be a Better Advocate for Your Child

For parents of children with disabilities, the changes in schedules and routines that arrive with the summer months can present significant challenges. Families in which both parents work may need to scramble to care for their children between the end of the regular school year and the time before or following extended school year services, camp experiences, and the like. In some cases extended school year services once provided may have been restricted or eliminated altogether.

And for some children with disabilities, changes in routine and schedule bring stress that may result in behavior issues that in turn stress the whole family.

As an advocate for your child with disabilities, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open to observe changes in behavior, learning and mood during the summer months.

Being sensitive to these kinds of changes in your child over the summer months can help you advocate better for him or her in the future.

For instance, if your child has been in an extended year program, is the curriculum and teaching producing the desired effect (usually that means preventing regression of learned skills and minimizing the time it take to recoup previous learning when they return to the regular school year).

Additionally, don’t forget that regression can include social and behavioral learning, personal mobility, impulse control, and communication, as well as academic learning.

If your child experiences any of these and does NOT have an ESY program, it might mean you need to raise the issue with the Child Study Team.

Is your child having trouble with changes in routine and schedule during the summer months? Are there strategies that were employed during the regular school year to manage change that might also be effective in the summer program or at home, or while on vacation with the family?

Or conversely, are there strategies that are being employed in the ESY program that might be appropriately and effectively employed in the regular school year.

Finally, don’t forget that summertime is a good time to intersperse recreation and fun with continued learning. And involving the whole family whenever possible is great for everyone!

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