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You can make Summer Camp a part of your Child’s IEP Program

By Theresa Sullivan, B.S, A.A.S.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, many of our students have spent the last 12 months indoors, looking at computer screens and trying to cope with distance learning – and unfortunately, regressing. Now that the weather is finally starting to break, we want you to be aware that Summer 2021 may be a prime opportunity for your child to reclaim their trajectory and get back on the path to progress.

When a student is at risk for regression or requires additional time to recoup skills, that child is entitled to extended school year programming (“ESY”). If extended school year services are required in order for a student to receive a free, appropriate public education, then a school district must provide ESY services as part of the student’s IEP.  Summer programming can address more than just academic regression, as some student’s educational needs include social skills, activities of daily living, behavioral, vocational, or therapeutic supports.

If your school district does not have an appropriate extended school year program available in the district, you may be able to send your child to an appropriate summer camp through the provision of your child’s IEP. Summer camps need not meet the same standard as a school in order to be deemed appropriate.

In New Jersey, the Department of Health oversees the certification of youth summer camp programs. There are camp programs that focus on ADHD, APD,  Autism, Sensory Issues, Executive Function Skill, Anxiety Disorder,  Physical Disabilities, and other Special Needs.  Whether or not your child has previously qualified for extended school year services, as long as the program meets criteria, including the ability to address your child’s specific needs, a student is eligible to receive funding for the summer placement.

Various summer camp programs across New Jersey specialize in providing appropriate programming to students who may require that additional hands-on support during the summer months. To find out if your child may be eligible to receive extended school year programming, contact our office to speak with an attorney.