As parents, the best thing we can do for our children is give them the tools necessary to prepare for the future and their eventual move from our nest. This means giving them the best education possible, and for some parents an Extended School Year (ESY) is in their child’s best interest.
The school year doesn’t always end for some children; for those who need a little extra assistance, the extended school year is there to help. ESY usually (but not always) takes place during the summer months while school is out until the next grade starts, but for those with developmental, emotional or physical delays it could be best if that child participates in this extra learning to keep ideas and concepts fresh in their mind so they don’t lose educational ground compared to their peers. While this service is typically not mandatory, in some instances it is critical for the child’s continued academic success and will determined through your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
3 Tips To Help You Prepare For ESY
- Ask about services during the initial IEP meeting. Since this meeting includes educators and mental health professionals, as well as you and your child, you will have everyone in attendance who can help you determine if ESY services will be the correct course of action for your child. If these extended services are something you would like to pursue, make sure you bring a list of determining factors with you to the meeting so you’re prepared to let the school know why you would like your child to participate. If need be, you can request a meeting during the school year to discuss ESY specifically.
- ESY is no different than regular school. For children who require an extended school year, they might be at the mercy of their peers who could view them as “different.” Be sure to stress to your child that they are not in school during breaks because they are “bad” or “stupid.” ESY is not summer school or detention and your child should know why they attend if they are old enough to ask. Give them the tools to be confident in their learning so they can take control of their own education.
- Tour the school with your child. Even if they’ve been going to the school for a while, it will be nice to give your child the chance to see where ESY specifically will be held. Give them a chance to meet all of the special educators that will be taking part in their education, so when services begin they are fully prepared. Let your child take a look at the schedule and possibly meet the other children who will also be participating in ESY. This will eliminate the anxiety so common before new experiences.
If it’s determined that ESY is not available to your child, there are other private means of deterring regression during long breaks. Special Needs Tutoring is a sure way of ensuring continued success and growth throughout the school year (and beyond).
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In addition, thousands of Special Education Resources are available if you find it easier to assist your child during your own time. These vast resources work well for stay-at-home parents, as well as evening study time.
As always, make sure you stay in close contact with your child’s educators during every step of the way. They will ultimately be your best special education resource for the current year and every year thereafter.