If your child has special needs and has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place, the holidays can present some challenges. When your child is away from their learning environment, away from the professionals who are integral to their growth and development, they can not only stop making progress, but also can backtrack. To ensure that doesn’t happen, you need to take a proactive approach with educators and administrators. You may want to consider some or all of the following strategies:
- Prepare in advance–Include specific plans in your IEP for addressing vacation, holidays or other absences. Work with educators and others to identify exercises and programs that your child can do at home, either with your assistance, or on their own. Ask the teacher to prepare homework assignments or other exercises to keep your child working on the IEP goals while on holiday vacation.
- Look at technology options, including the use of audio-visual programs, or computer/online tools to help your child stay focused and moving forward during the holidays.
- Integrate the holidays into your child’s IEP, by using Christmas, Hanukkah or other holiday themes in projects, or by applying their tasks to holiday events, tasks or projects.
- Consider hiring a tutor for your child—If you are unable to spend the necessary time with your child, due to work or other commitments, bring in someone who will assist your child. This could be a college student home for the holidays.
- Purchase a gift for your child that encourages them to work on their goals.
Whenever you are putting together an IEP, you want to be certain that you are talking with the right people, with individuals who have the authority and ability to carry out the plans you develop. You may need to check in with teachers and others on a regular basis, to make certain that materials will be ready for your child when the holiday recess begins.
Contact the Law Offices of Hornstine Law, LLC
At Hornstine Law, LLC, we handle special education issues for people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at215-568-4968 (in New Jersey at 609-523-2222).