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Summer Breakation and Autism

Retro school's out
In September, for my youngest.

Extended School Year, or ESY, is a hot topic in special education. Programs vary dramatically from state to state and school district to school district.  Our town district ESY changed over the years, from 5 days a week, for 6 weeks to 4 days a week for a month, with a shortened day. My youngest is about to begin her final round of ESY at her private placement in July.  Hers is a 5 day program, and runs 4 weeks. There's a good 6 weeks of downtime. It's discouraging. Worse? She ages out of school altogether in September. As of now, there is no program that will accept her, because she has a gigantic budget that includes a 1:1. I say that tongue in cheek. Her state administered budget will sit, unused, unless a program that I deem acceptable will accept her. Even the program where her sisters attend is up in the air, because of the severe staffing shortage. Programs are more amenable to taking in 3:1 individuals.  Those who qualify for a 1:1 are being turned away - they are money losers.  ESY is looking pretty good to me. I know the staff, my daughter loves her school, and I'm clinging to the last week weeks of programming like a liferaft

Use the comments section to share your ESY experiences - good, bad or ugly.




Maybe autism organization should copy the ALUT model in Israel. These are care homes and sheltered workshop and others that are mostly privately funded but low cost based on a charity model. I looked into some kind of supervised independent living for the developmentally disabled from the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco but it cost over but sadly it cost over 5,000 per month no Regional Center funding is allowed. I am interested in the ALUT and Kibbutz for the developmentally disabled so I am planing on going on a long vacation to volunteer at these in Israel and get inspired to create something similar in the US. I have autism myself and a rare genetic tumor disease of my nerves but I still care for those people more disabled than me and would love to found a group home that provides productive activities and access to good medical care.


My son's adult day program has always had a great staff turnover rate with people coming, staying for a while, and then leaving, We just lost another staff member recently. There is an ongoing problem with retaining staff in all the day programs in the state and it is being considered a crisis. The real crisis is for us families who have to deal with the anxiety and frustration over how our sons or daughters have to adjust to constantly losing staff they have known and are familiar with. The programs just can't compete with wages at places that pay $15 dollars an hour for much less stressful work and less responsibility. We need staff wage increases in order to retain people who always wind up leaving for jobs that pay more money elsewhere. The constant budget cuts to services over the past several years have also hurt the non-profit sector that supports our children/adults. People and families of children and adults with disabilities are really struggling through a very difficult situation.

Autism Mom

In this town ESY lasts 6 weeks 5 days a week, immediately after the end of the school year, half days. Never changed. Half the summer break was always without service. No attempt to put it in the middle of summer like year-round school districts. Start time was always 7:45 (15 minutes earlier than the regular school year). So helpful, when my son couldn’t fall asleep until 1:30AM or later. I vividly remember being informed that “Adult Day programs only have one staff member to 3 adults, so you better get used to it.” We have one year left.

Maurine Meleck

Josh, during all his years in school in both SC and Florida, was never allowed ESY. Maybe because he was verbal, the schools always deemed him in no need of summer services. Often those in charge said he wouldn't forget what he learned during the school year so there was no need for ESY. Really?
It was a long time after he finished school, some miserable years, that he finally found his place at Peace of Heart here in Florida.

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