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ERIC Number: EJ948317
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0046-9157
Striking the Right Balance in Summer Learning for Special Needs Students
Zipperer, Holly
Exceptional Parent, v41 n6 p28-29 Jun 2011
Parents of special needs children know how hard their children work to master new skills. It can be heartrending when hard-won progress evaporates. Summer can present a particular dilemma to those with learning challenges. The freedom, recreation, and fun is something everybody looks forward to, but this break from learning can result in the loss or critical academic skills--something that may have a lasting impact on their educational development. Quality summer programming helps children to maintain competency skills over the summer. Summer classes reinforce academic learning in subjects like reading and math and provide an opportunity to practice social and behavioral skills with peers. By keeping skills fresh over the summer, students are better prepared to transition back into school in September and take on the challenges of a new academic year. Summer programming for children with special needs has important quality-of-life benefits too. For special learners, summer break is often anything but a "vacation." The productive, predictable routine of school is replaced by a tremendous quantity of unstructured time. This can be disorienting, frustrating or lonely for a child with special needs. A summer program can foster friendships and provide opportunities to try new activities in a supportive environment. Socialization and recreation are important for special needs learners, but they may have difficulty taking part in mainstream sports or recreation activities. Issues such as health, motor planning, behavioral issues, over stimulating environments and difficulties inferring social cues and understanding abstract language can interfere with their participation. When looking for the right summer learning program for their child, the first thing parents want to look for is balance. The ideal summer program integrates both social and emotional development with engaging academics to build on a student's interests and strengths while maintaining what they have accomplished. The right blend of socialization and academics offers the special learner the ability to stay academically engaged while still experiencing a balanced and enjoyable summer "break."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A