Autism Lives Here: Back to School

Autism Lives Here: A Sunday ritual.

Pictures that give a glimpse into our life with autism.  Pictures that may show how distinctly different our lives are from yours because of autism.  Or pictures that may show how similar our lives are regardless of autism.

Today’s picture:

backtoschoolBack to school picture in July?  After two weeks of summer vacation, Brian started school back up this past week.  He, like the other children with autism in our school district, is attending six weeks of summer school.  This is called Extended School Year (ESY) services.

Children like Brian qualify for summer services to help them maintain their skills throughout the summer.  Generally, ESY is a sore subject for most families as we often are given very little amounts, a very unstructured setting, and all brand new teachers that really don’t know the child.  By the time they get to know the child, ESY is usually ending.  Children with autism crave routine and do best when they know what to expect in this crazy world.  Last year I had to pull my son from ESY because it wasn’t working for him, he was regressing before my eyes.

Our school district is doing it right this year.  Though each child’s needs are different and therefore each child in the autism program has different hours provided, my son being one of the more affected in the program is receiving six hours a day, five days a week for six weeks.  He has the same support staff and the routine is basically the same as the regular school year.

A lot of people feel bad for him when I tell them he has summer school.

“Poor kid.  No summer vacation?  How unfair.”

But it’s not like that for Brian.  He loves it.  He has his backpack on and is waiting for the bus twenty minutes before it’s meant to arrive.  He needs that routine.  He loves his teachers and his classmates.  He is happy to be at school.

ESY isn’t a burden when it’s done right.  It’s a gift.  A gift for Brian to maintain skills and start fourth grade off without a significant regression.


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Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.