Summer School Options And Thinking Outside The Box

by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom

The idea of “summer school” does not instill confidence in anyone. No one puffs their chest and boasts, “My son is going to summer school.” Nevertheless, summer school or extended year school can be a wonderful option for your child, a big contribution to your sanity, and provide the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with your child’s sibling. And here is a blog post by Tulika Prasad called” A Summer of Possibilities” that shows what can happen when we were too busy helping them to notice.

When Ryan was in elementary school, the only summer service offered was summer school where all the children on the spectrum were thrown in together in a six-week class. That wouldn’t have helped Ryan much, so we declined. Instead, we asked if Ryan’s speech therapy could be continued over the summer months in our home for that six-week period. The school district had never done this before, probably because no one had ever asked.

Speech therapy offered once or twice a week for only forty-five minutes wasn’t enough to correct the enormous deficits in Ryan’s speech and language. However, the way we did things, a speech teacher twice a week from the school district was sufficient. When the speech teacher came to our house, I watched and learned from her. I used her knowledge and expertise to determine what area of speech we needed to tackle next. Her guidance in the beginning years was invaluable until I had the confidence to do this on my own.

Our speech therapists also loaned us the costly speech materials we needed.  Next I showed Pam (our only therapist I had trained myself) the next area to work on with Ryan. We did about forty-five minutes of formal speech training every day. It was done by Pam, me, or the speech specialists. Summers and vacations were the times we worked the hardest since there was no school to interfere with our home program. There is no vacation when you have autism. But we always remembered our number one rule: Use what your kid loves or obsesses about to motivate them. We made learning fun for Ryan so he wanted more.

ALONE there is little we can do about autism.

TOGETHER we will be unstoppable!


NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom : Ryan became an aerospace engineer, and what I wanted most for him actually happened.  He is happy and has friends. Ryan’s recovery wasn’t miraculous, but the result of receiving proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions. To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism”go to Amazon or my website

Contact info for Marcia: Phone: 805 497-8202 Email: or

There is more info to help on my website.

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