I can’t tell you how many times people ask me what my son is going to do this summer. My answer is always the same…as little as possible. I know for some kids, they must always have a daily structured schedule, so this blog does not apply to them. For those that need structure please see Summer Shock. For others who have children like my son who have 2-3 hours of homework a day and may be in middle or high school; I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. This was my son’s first year of middle school and what a difference it was from elementary school. He worked so hard all year long; he’s told me several times “I can’t wait until school ends so I can do nothing and relax.” Read the rest of this entry →
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Hooray, it’s summer! School’s out! No more homework! No classes. Lots of free time…
No more school? The normal routine is out the window. For most children and moms, this is not a big deal. They are able to transition from the everyday routine of school into the usually unplanned chaos that is summer. However, our children don’t usually fall into that category and thus our children and us are thrown into what I lovingly call “Summer Shock”.
Around our house, we experienced this with Blondie almost immediately after she graduated Pre-K a few short weeks ago (although it feels I’ve aged a year since). This summer is the first that she will not be attending any type of school or child development center (CDC). For her, routine and consistency is paramount to being able to function and cope with her world. Sometimes, it doesn’t work perfectly but most days it makes the difference in her behavior, ability to regulate her own emotions without redirection, handle transitions and adjust to situations with more ease. Read the rest of this entry →
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the United States is on fire. Earlier this week I found out OSEP sent a memorandum to the State of New Jersey regarding Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs) and when a parent has the right to request an IEE. Now OSEP has weighed in on timely evaluations and stated that initial evaluations cannot be delayed due to summer vacations. The letter to Reyes can be found below. Read the rest of this entry →
Whenever I have the opportunity to speak with fellow Camp Directors who run camps designed for neurotypical children the topic often leads to discussing their campers who present with social-cognitive challenges. In other words, their campers who struggle socially in the camp setting.
Through my discussions with camp colleagues as well as professionals who work with children who present with social skill challenges I often hear that many parents are not interested in sending their child to a summer camp that is designed to meet their child’s needs. In some cases the child may not want to go to a camp designed to meet their needs as they understandably want to see themselves as no different than their neurotypical peers despite the fact that they are frequently met with rejection from the same peers who’s acceptance they crave. While these parents know there is a risk their child may be unsuccessful in the camp setting they believe that the best way for their child to improve their social skills and provide their child with a feeling of normalcy is through having their child participate in recreational settings (like summer camp) with their neurotypical peers. Often this well intended approach backfires for the child, particularly as they get older and social expectations increase. This led me to question as to where this widely held misconception comes from that children who present with social skill challenges can improve their social skills by simply being around neurotypical peers. Read the rest of this entry →
The lazy days of summer will soon be over and whether your child goes back to school in August or September; you should pull your child’s most recent Individualized Education program (IEP) and take the time to read it from cover to cover. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with all of your child’s disability, goals, accommodations, class placement, etc….in order to make sure your child’s IEP is implemented correctly in the upcoming fall semester. It’s important to be familiar in advance so that you are able to begin tracking your child’s services at the beginning of the first semester, instead of finding out sometime in December your school is out of compliance with your child’s IEP. Also, if you have an IEP meeting coming up in the first semester to discuss amending the current one, now is a good time to write a list of concerns that you have. You can always add to it when the school year begins, this way you are prepared to have a productive meeting when the time comes. Read the rest of this entry →
Living in Southern California, there are many colleges and universities. We are lucky to be living near California State University, Northridge which has a Learning Center on Campus to help students with Special Needs. In conjunction with the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, the clinic at the Learning Center provides high quality affordable services for children with learning differences, such as literacy challenges. This summer, the center is working with the Association of Educational Therapists (AET) to provide Educational Therapy for students to work on their skills. Read the rest of this entry →
Your child’s special education teacher could be awesome. She could be a good communicator, an avid blogger, and a great instructor. He could be intelligent, kind, and caring.
But likely, your child’s special education teacher also has to be self-motivated and a great reader. Why? Because a special education teacher can NEVER have enough training.
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Summer is usually a time for fun vacations, trips to the beach or lazy days in your backyard. As a result, there isn’t a lot of education going on during this time. For children with special needs, this can put them at a disadvantage when the new school year begins. Some children will qualify for Extended School Year (ESY). For those who didn’t, like my son, there a few projects parent’s can give their children to keep up with their educational skills. Read the rest of this entry →
Selecting the right camp and understanding common misconceptions about overnight camp for children with learning differences & social skill needs.
Overnight summer camp is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can provide your child with if you know how to choose a camp where your child can be successful. Overnight camp can provide children with learning differences, social skill needs, mild Autism Spectrum Disorders, Non-Verbal Learning Disability and ADD/ADHD with many benefits. It can nurture their independence, help them develop important social skills and friendships. It can also increase a child’s self- esteem and self-confidence. Finding the right overnight summer camp for your child can be a daunting task given the number of overnight camps available. As a camp professional who has worked with campers for over 20 years in camp settings I have seen firsthand what types of camp environments work best for children diagnosed with learning differences and the diagnoses mentioned above and which can be challenging for them. As a parent to a child with learning differences. I know what questions I would want answered from a prospective Camp Director and am happy to share my expertise with you. Read the rest of this entry →
Summer is a time for fun, laughter and lazy days!!! But it’s also a time for a change in routine which can be difficult to deal with. My son thrives on structure and has had hard time with a change in his routine. Whether its bedtime, certain foods or activities he does on a daily basis change is difficult. Read the rest of this entry →