Enroll

5 Tips to Keep Your Child from Falling Behind over the Summer

It is usually a given; children fall behind in what they learned the previous school year over the summer months. For a typical child, this means a few weeks of review once school starts back up and they are good to go. For a child with special needs however, the months and months of hard work it took to master one skill are suddenly forgotten over the summer. Sometimes it could take the same amount of time or longer to get that skill back.

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant in the public school system, this was a real concern for me. Special needs kids typically don’t just bounce back with some review at the beginning of a school year. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to sometimes start from the beginning again!

So what are some ways as parents that you can combat this loss of skills over the summer? Below I am sharing some tips that you can do over the summer to help decrease the loss of skills in your child!

Tip 1: Talk to your child’s special education team! Typically I would only see parents once or twice a year, usually at their child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team meeting. You can either use that time, or plan to meet with them before the end of the school year. Ask questions! Be intentional! “What is my child doing currently?” “What kind of tools are working?” “What can I do to help with this at home?” These are all great questions to start with! The people on your child’s IEP team will be glad to answer these and give suggestions and ideas to work on at home!

Tip 2: See if your child qualifies for extended school year services! This can be determined at your child’s IEP meeting, or at a separate meeting towards the end of the school year, depending on what your school district does. If your child shows a significant regression over the summer, which the team can determine by testing at the beginning of each school year, they may qualify for this service. Where I worked, it typically began up to a month before school would begin and gives the child a head start on the school year. They typically meet once or twice a week and would either meet at the school or go to the child’s home.

Tip 3: Get a summer home therapy activity packet from your child’s therapist! I gave these out to each of the children on my caseload at the end of each school year. However, if your therapist doesn’t, ask them! Therapists typically have a wealth of handouts, resources, or website ideas that your child can easily do over the summer to keep up with their skills! The second part of this tip would be to actually complete the packets each summer! I’m sure most of my kids did not do anything I provided in the packets over the summer. Be proactive about your child’s education and work on their skills over the summer, even if it is just 15 minutes a day, or a few times week. Something is better than nothing!

Tip 4: Do private therapy services over the summer! Many children in the special education system do get outside therapy services on top of their school services. If your child does not, and you are able to afford it or get your insurance to cover it, please take advantage of this! Also be sure to allow the outside therapist to contact your child’s school therapist so they can be on the same page and be following the same plan with your child! The worst thing that can happen is that your child receives the same services but in a different way that confuses them. This will only hurt their progress.

Tip 5: Be involved!! This goes without saying I hope in your child’s case. Obviously if you are reading this article then you want to be involved in your child’s education. Too many parents though are not and leave it to the professionals. PLEASE, do not do this! You know your child better than any professional they work with. Stay involved and be part of your child’s success!

I hope these tips were helpful for you! To get more tips like this, visit my blog and read my Occupational Therapy tips that I share each Thursday!

Heather G

About Heather G

Heather G. is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with 7 years of experience in long term care and pediatric/school based therapy. She recently became a stay at home mom, but enjoys sharing tips and activity ideas on her blog goldenreflectionsblog.com!

Heather G

Top Posts | Special Education

special education

Cameras in Special Education Classroom - Texas New Law

Parents with kids that have special needs are always concerned for them, especially when they are in school. A new law has been passed stating that cameras can be installed in special education classrooms.The Texas government recently announced a new law that requires every special education classr ...

Special Education Program for Students a Grand Success

Parents and teachers as well as the government give emphasis to the importance of education. That is why a special education program was created for students; this extended education service program by the Special Education Department catered to about 59 students during the summer. These students p ...

Austin Special Education Focus Widens

Special needs children are an integral part of our world. Contrary to common belief, special need children are capable of learning new things through education. A notable increase in the attendance of these students in special education classes throughout Austin has been seen, which shows that the ...

Sex Ed for Special Needs Students Receives an Upgrade

Special education services provide vital academic aid to children with special needs. However, some parts of these education services are not as substantial as others. For example, sexual education classes are rarely catered to students with special needs. That’s why a school district in Mich ... ...

Lemont High School Leads in Special Education

It is not an easy job to educate young children and help shape their futures. Only teachers and parents can understand the problems faced with this challenge. The situation gets even tougher when the children in question are ones with physical or mental disabilities. This is not because these child ...

Ten Basic Special Education Steps

Children with disabilities need special attention. It is the responsibility of parents, guardians, teachers -- and sometimes even peers and friends -- to look out for any indications that a child needs this attention. For instance, if your child is having or causing trouble at school, it ... ...

Camera Monitoring of Special Education Classrooms

Children are the same everywhere. They have to be cared for, made to feel important and encouraged to be independent, no matter where they are. This is especially true in the case of special needs children, who have some sort of disability holding them back in this world.This is why special educati ...

Is California Ready for a Special Education Evolution?

California is one of the USA’s economic hubs. In some areas, it exudes progress like on matters related to cultural diversity and race relations. But in other areas, like its history in regards to educating special needs children is somewhat appalling.Experts Say Yes to Special Education Refo ... ...

A Typical Day of an Autistic Child

Autistic children like a structured routine. We can understand that from few examples.You take a particular route to their school daily and for some reason you take a different route one day. That is sure to make them throw a tantrum. As they are not always vocal, it is very difficult for young par ...