What If We Just Kept on Learning?

Without structured educational activities during summer break, children with attention deficit (ADD/ADHD), learning disabilities, and other special needs often suffer learning loss. Try this plan for an alternative summer school to keep your child learning while still making time to have fun.

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How to make studying fun during the break.  hemera/thinkstock

As soon as school is out for the summer, our kids shove their backpacks under the bed and rush outside, anxious for an extended recess. But, especially for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), a summer of no work and all play can lead to learning loss.

"Many children with learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD lose ground during the summer months -- particularly in academic skills in which they are below grade-level standards," says Sandra F. Rief, M.A., author of How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD. "But it's important to offer them a fresh environment, with learning experiences different from those they're exposed to during the school year."

"Parents try to make their kids do better by pushing the school model on them," says Laura Grace Weldon, author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. "Think of learning as custom-designed, hands-on, interest-based fun."

I try to do that for my fourth-grader, Natalie. This year, for the fourth year running, she'll attend "Hannah School," named for the tutor who will be teaching her and her friend Harry. Natalie never complains about going, and the benefits are reflected in her back-to-school assessments.

Next: Special Needs Alternatives to Summer School
Creative Ways to Prevent Learning Loss in Special Needs Children Over the Summer


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