Parents go from an active routine of school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., where children are engaged with peers in a supportive and predictable environment, to almost nothing during summer break. For some kids, that’s great. School fatigue is a real thing, and every kid deserves a break.
For kids that need predictability and stability, the summer can be a really challenging experience. We as parents must support them through that transition.
Some of our kids are offered Extended School Year (ESY) services through our local districts. Our family’s experience was less than ideal. We fought for those services. Finally, after pointing out the differences between resources available to neurotypical kids and kids with disabilities, we were given three hours a day for four days a week, which is better than nothing.
That’s the thing, though. It’s better than nothing. The school did the best they could with the resources they had, and it was better than nothing. It was “good enough.”
I’m a bit tired of “good enough” as the standard. So, this year we didn’t bother with ESY. We found a program that requires me to drive an hour for drop-off and pick-up, but it is a great program.
With my neurotypical children, we often hear about innovation in education, pushing kids to be the best they can be and challenging them to be outside of their comfort zone. For special education (SPED) and other related resources though, it seems like “good enough” is often the standard. Maybe that’s because so much of SPED is defined by law, but it often feels like the bare minimum is enough.
This is one of the biggest challenges we as parents face. Letting the world know that “good enough” isn’t good enough for our children. They deserve the absolute best.
Half of the fighting that we do is just to get folks to recognize that our kids deserve to be looked at as having potential. That they are deserving of resources and shouldn’t just be plugged into systems that are “good enough.”
The next time you’re in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or an Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) meeting, remember that you don’t have to settle for “good enough.” Our kids deserve more. We as parents deserve to know that we’re providing the best chance for our kids and we’re not just settling on what might be available to us.