Summertime information loss is a truly massive problem for all children, but especially true for children with special needs…
Let’s dive into a program that’s designed to help children who are prone to losing the most information if something isn’t done to stop it!
The Extended School Year… or ESY
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) supports the idea of all children receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE), regardless of disability or specific limitations.
Types of services include, but is not limited to;
- Specialized Equipment
- Modification Of The Learning Environment
- Guided Assistance Throughout The Day
Special education services are designed to support a child’s individual needs pertaining to their social and academic function during a typical school day.
As regulated by IDEA, an Extended School Year for Special Education (ESY for Special Education) might be provided for a child with special needs if they are determined to require regular maintenance of the skills they’ve already acquired.
In order for a child to receive qualification for an ESY, it must be outlined in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
This is created at the beginning of each school year to help outline concise educational goals; every effort will be made by the school to help your child succeed in achieving said goals through modification and assistance.
An extended school year is just like it sounds – educational services extend beyond the normal school year.
ESY services are provided at no cost to the parents or guardians and must be defined in the child’s IEP before enrollment in the program can begin.
If the school’s assessment determines that a child is eligible for an extended school year in order to maintain FAPE, the care provided must meet the requirements of the State Educational Authority, the organization that maintains educational standards for all children.
The types of services that are provided to a child with special needs are determined by each child’s unique limitations and situation, and cannot be limited by the school system due to the type of disability or need.
These folks do not have the power to determine the amount of services the child should receive, either, or when services should start and stop. An ESY serves to assist a child with special needs at every point in the year, not just when school is in session.
In order to take part in an ESY, it must be proven that the “likelihood of regression, slow recoupment, and predictive data based on the opinion of professionals” will be taking place once a child is out of school for the year.
An extended school year allows a child to maintain the same educational standards as when school is in session, which helps them to progress past certain obstacles and prevents them from having to re-learn the information once school starts again.
Extended school year services are not the same as summer school or educational enrichment programs offered through the school system.
They are also not limited strictly to summer break, although that is the longest amount of time a child will not be in school for an extended period of time. An Extended School Year for Special Education can take place outside of the days of a school year or the hours of a school day and can include shorter school breaks, as well, such as spring or winter break.
Basically, if your child needs consistent assistance in order to maintain a standard of education, ESY is there to help.
To qualify for extended school year services, a child’s needs will be determined through the opinion of qualified professional during the making of the IEP.
Some factors that will be looked at are:
• The degree of the child’s impairment
• The availability of resources
• The child’s rate of educational progress
• The child’s ability to interact with other children who are not disabled
• How much structure is provided in the home environment by parents or guardians
• The child’s occupational or physical needs, or behavioral issues
The school must have documented proof of a child’s regression in order to begin Extended School Year services, as well as the child’s previous history.
- Has their learning regressed in previous grades or schools?
- Is this a continuing pattern that needs to be addressed?
Of course, all children don’t retain everything they learn, but the degree of regression must be severe in order for your child with special needs to participate in the extended school year.
Extended School Year Available Services
The services that are provided through an Extended School Year vary based on the child’s limitations and specific needs, but can include:
• Behavioral Support
• Physical Therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Speech-Language Therapy
• Personal Coaching
• Instructional Services
• At-Home Information For Parental Implementation
• Consultative Services
These are just a few of the services offered through the extended school year program, and are not designed to replicate the special education services the child receives throughout the course of the normal school day.
The services are not necessarily for learning new skills but keeping the ones already learned, which goes a long way towards educational and lifelong success.
Your child will be tested for regression at different times of the year, perhaps during the winter break, to determine what skills have been lost and which ones need to be worked on.
A school’s ESY standards vary from state to state, as well, so it’s important to check with your local Board of Education to gain more insight into what services are available to a child with special needs.
The services provided for your child’s participation in an extended school year program will never come at a cost to you, as regulated by IDEA and the rules governing the FAPE your child’s school is required to make accessible.
It takes a village to raise a child and one where your child’s best interests are always at heart.
In addition to ESY, SpecialEdResource.com offers one-on-one special education tutoring and customizable lesson plans that are tailored to fit your child’s specific needs.
Parenting a child with special needs can be heartwarming and difficult, but there are definite resources that can help your child succeed in reaching their goals.
Education is a right given to every child, disabled or not, and we recognize the fact you might need a helping hand from time to time. Your child has a bright future ahead of them – let’s help them get there!