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Through her IEP, Sweet B is guaranteed to attend some form of extended school year (ESY) during the summer. When she was younger, she would attend a summer school style program at Wildwood but in the past few years; she’s attended Camp Wildwood. Services, such as speech and occupational therapy, are still provided.

However, there’s a brief time period between camp ending and the school year beginning that she’s at home. And while our afterschooling program may suffice, I wanted to looking into developing an ESY program at home. With thanks to Fun and Function for providing our items and sponsoring this conversation for our program; I’m outlining a suggested plan for a two to three week time period.

how to develop an esy program at home

First, you’ll want to determine what you want to focus on or work on over the summer. Because she receives services during her ESY program through Wildwood, I want to extend on that.

The three main areas that we’ll work on are: physical education, language, and social skills.

Physical Education

Though we try to spend as much time as possible outdoors anyway, sometimes it’s nice to come inside for a change. Sweet B occasionally participates in yoga at school, so I thought we’d try it at home as well:

physical therapy component

We’re adding the Yoga Exercise Cards for Kids into our program. Sweet B loves using her exercise ball and I figured that it would be a fun way to get her into yoga at home. The cards can be used with or without the ball, but the ball really does help Sweet B focus.

  • Each card highlights elements of the pose: Balance, Calm, Social, Strength and/or Stretch

  • Great for kids who need help with motor planning, balance skills, body awareness, flexibility, language

  • Made by Fun and Function

  • Age 3+

We still have our Foam Rocker Board which also helps with sensory input and balance. Another item that we might incorporate is a scooter and scooter paddles.

I also had my eye on adding in Regulation Cubes, either for the ESY or for her afterschool program.

  • For children who need guidance to self regulate
  • Includes 2 cubes and 24 colorful illustrated cards
  • Great for solo or group play
  • Made by Fun and Function
  • Age 3+

Language Component

language component

I felt that the Memory Matching game would help with both language and cognitive skills.

  • Teaches language syntax
  • For kids with language or developmental delays, learning disabilities and autism
  • Great for classroom or family play and in speech therapy groups
  • Age 5+

We worked on identifying similar letter groups in addition to following the suggested use for the game.

To help with language development and to work on fine motor skills, I also considered adding Discovery Putty.

  • Strengthens fine motor skills and provides tactile exploration

  • Versatile therapy tool, fidget, and travel toy for imaginative play

  • Supports speech, color recognition, math and language activities

  • High quality professional putty, free of gluten, casein, latex, soy

  • Age 5+

Because Sweet B does have PICA issues, sensory play can be interesting to say the least. I look more for items that have texture and are still taste safe, just in case.

Social Skills

This is one if the biggest focus areas for Sweet B (along with daily living skills and functional language). We’re working especially hard on identifying emotions and feelings.

social skills component

I was absolutely thrilled to see the Guess How I Feel? game!

  • Helps kids with autism recognize other people’s emotions

  • Good for children with speech and language delays

  • Made by Fun and Function

  • Age 3+

One of the main things that I love about this is that, with her limited literacy, this game does not rely on reading skills.

How to Develop

Why We Choose Fun and Function

Fun and Function is the leading resource of kid-friendly sensory tools.  Fun and Function’s goal is empowering different and believes that differences make the world a better, more fun, and more interesting place to be.

Fun and Function was started by occupational therapist and mom (of 8!) Aviva Weiss because she couldn’t find kid-friendly sensory tools that would fit her family’s needs. She channeled her frustration and turned it into a passion for creating the best sensory toys and tools on the planet.

Improving the lives of kids with special needs is Fun and Function’s driving mission. Everything they make is kid-friendly, affordable, and most importantly, makes a real developmental and therapeutic difference in the lives of children.

I encourage you to go take a peek and see what Fun and Function has to offer. You’ll find everything (and then some!) that you need to develop your own extended school year program at home.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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