As summer approaches, you might be considering whether you should talk to your child’s IEP team about the possible benefits of ESY – Extended School Year. ESY services provide children with IEP’s continuing education and services during extended school breaks. The Extended School Year should not be confused with summer school. Instead, ESY is intended to help children maintain skills and behaviors they have learned in the previous school year. In order to qualify for ESY, the IEP team must recommend the services and provide documentation demonstrating need. If you are uncertain, there are three signs that might signal your child would benefit from ESY.
3 Signs That Your Child Would Benefit From ESY
- Loss of information. If, after an extended break from school, you dread your child’s return to school because you know they will be coming home frustrated and defeated. A frustration stemming from them not remembering the math/reading/other subject material that they knew at the beginning of the break, a discussion of ESY is in order. If you find that it is too late to get your child into ESY for this school year, look into the wide assortment of special education homeschool resources and/or special education tutoring. These are alternative ways to help your child retain information during the school year as well as breaks.
- Missed opportunities. If your child seems to be on the verge of making an educational or behavioral breakthrough right before an extended break, the Extended School Year can help. When there is a learning disability involved, these “A-ha moments” can be harder to predict and may not come at the same pace as kids not facing similar challenges. ESY can help your child achieve these important milestones without a long delay.
- Behavioral backsliding. Does your child thrive on the routine and consistent positive reinforcement they receive in their classroom? Is this reflected in their behavior at home while school is in session? Is there a dramatic difference in behavior when your child returns to school after an extended break? The Extended School Year can include physical and behavioral therapy when needed. It can be frustrating to see great strides happening in your child’s life, only to be followed by large setbacks after a break. Talk to your IEP team about ESY.
Ideally, talk about ESY with your IEP team early in the school year. This allows you time to provide documentation and any other support you need. If you’re off to a late start, there is a chance your child will not be able to get enrolled into ESY for the upcoming summer break.
However, there are things you can do at home on your own or online for a reasonable fee. Look into special education resources and also special needs tutoring. Work within your budget to do what you can to help your child maintain progress. As you do this, plan for next year. Bring up ESY at your first IEP meeting and don’t let the subject be dismissed. If you do your research and back up your arguments with case law from your state, odds are you will be successful.