Following from the year that my camp closed, my parents reached out to the Child Study Team in my elementary school. My parents wanted to sign me up for my town’s school district Extended School Year Program, since they felt that the program would benefit me a lot. As I finally learned through my Education courses from my college, students with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are eligible for Extended School Year program in their town’s school district, which provide special education services in the summer. However, there are certain qualifications to be approved. For example, parents could claim for their child/student with a disability that they may forget most of what they learned during the school year, like being able to re-acquire previously, learned skills into the new school year. Although, this has to be proved by data in the student’s IEP goals, such as lost about two-thirds of skills learned in the school year prior. As for me, I had to get approved by my elementary’s school Child Study Team. Based on my IEP and my disability, I was approved.
I participated in my town’s school district Extended School Year Program for one summer; The program was only for four hours per a day, five days a week. It was not the same as camp, but I enjoyed it. I was in a school building with classmates with disabilities from all over the school district; It was in my town’s Early Learning Center school. I was placed in a classroom with students in the same grade as me, no matter the type of disability. I attended speech-language therapy and related-art classes/specials (Art, Gym, & Music), and practiced my academic skills (Math, Reading, and Writing) and social-emotional skills (Recess), just like in the regular school year. I always loved learning, so it was great that I got to learn in the summer time, instead of being home for two whole months. After participating in the program, I felt like I improved various skills.
For educators, parents, and anyone who is helping a student or child with a disability, I highly recommend them participating in the Extended School Year Program in whatever town’s school district you are part of. The special education services received in the summer are individualized to help the student or child with a disability maintain and not lose progress of skills they made towards their goals, which are established by the student or child’s Child Study Team in the student or child’s IEP. If it wasn’t for the Extended School Year Program, all of my skills would have regressed. I thank to my elementary school’s Child Study Team for allowing me to participate in the program, to all of the teachers/therapists of the program for understanding my IEP goals, and my parent’s love and support for me to attend this program, in order to get to where I am at today.