Column: Summer options for kids with disabilities


Commentary by Catherine M. Michael, JD

As summer quickly approaches many parents begin making summer plans for camps, academic enrichment, and relaxation.   Parents of children with disabilities can often struggle to find what is available for their child and sometimes feel like they don’t have many choices.

For summer academics parents need to be aware of Extended School Year options through their child’s public school.  Extended School Year is a legal requirement under the special education laws including Article 7 and IDEA.  Extended School Year is different than summer school.   If your child has a history of regression then this may be a necessary component of your summer plans.  Parents need to be clear at their child’s IEP meeting this spring that their child does need summer services based on their child’s needs and history.   Summer services can be specifically tailored to what that child needs and parents should not be afraid to ask for these necessary services.

There are also a variety of centers throughout Indianapolis and Carmel that provide summer day programming for children with autism or other challenges.   For instance the Applied Behavior Center in Carmel offers part time to full time summer programming that may be covered by your insurance for children with Autism.  The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana located in Indianapolis offers some fantastic camps for students struggling with Dyslexia or other learning disabilities, and offer day programs to teen camps.  Noble of Indiana offers Day Camps for children with and without disabilities.   Easter Seals Summer camp offers a variety of day programming options in our area as well.   For children with Asthma Happy Hollow Child’s Camp sponsors a weeklong program this summer.

It is not too late to get started to make this summer a wonderful and full one.

Catherine Michael is the Chair of the Education Law Division of Hollingsworth & Zivitz, PC.  Her practice is dedicated to Education Law with a focus on special educational matters and children with disabilities.  She can be contacted at or at 317-569-2200. 

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