Believe it or not… a TON of information is lost during long breaks…

I know, that may come across as a shocker!

To help battle this “brain drain” for children with special needs, ESY is available… but often challenging to get in to!

Extended School Year (ESY) is a term that you, as a parent, hear during the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.

Extended School Year is a supplemental service that can be utilized for a child who has an IEP.

These children can be eligible for ESY services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

ESY is offered outside the regular school day, and there are different types of ESY services, which can include after-school tutoring or summer programs.

Most of ESY services are offered in the summer though.

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ESY Versus Summer Regression

First, an important note here is that the Extended School Year services are not the same as summer school…

These services are;

  • Specialized,
  • Intensive Instruction
  • Related Services
  • ALL Part Of An IEP

If your child is approved for ESY, these services are provided at no cost…

Though mainly used for summer breaks, the Extended School Year Services can also be provided during other extended breaks.

The services that are provided are individualized to help each student maintain their skills, and also ensures that progress towards their IEP goals is not lost.

These services can include one-on-one special needs tutoring

Who Makes The Decision Regarding ESY Services?

It’s the IEP team that makes the decision about extended school year services.

However, when looking at eligibility, not all students who have an IEP need (or get approved) for ESY services.

IDEA allows each state and/or school district to set its own rules for eligibility…

So depending on the location, the eligibility requirements may vary.

IDEA states that schools can not limit ESY services to any student. When determining if a student needs ESY services, the IEP team must be involved in the decision-making process.

In determining eligibility… the IEP team reviews the child’s progress and sees if regression (losing skills) has occurred.

Along with regression, the IEP team also looks at recoupment (the time needed to relearn skills).

Some questions the team considers during this process includes:

  • Are the critical skills that are lost, lost due to lack of support or teaching?
  • What is the time frame to regain the necessary skills?
  • Will this time be longer than a child without a disability?

When reviewing this information, the IEP team will take this information into account.

What If You, As A Parent, Disagree?

Data must be presented in order to determine if the services are needed.

If you, as a parent, disagree with the school about the extended school year services, request a copy of your specific state’s ESY standards.

Also, negotiate with the school’s personnel in order to resolve any problems that may arise and protect your relationships with the school.

If a dispute occurs, it is crucial to know and understand the factors to be considered when making those decisions:

  • The Window of opportunity to learn the emerging skills
  • Child’s rate of progression
  • Child’s behavioral/physical needs
  • Alternative resources availability
  • Curriculum areas that need on-going attention
  • Vocational requirements of students-if applicable

When deciding if a child is eligible for ESY, it is essential to review the following factors:

  • Nature/Severity of Disability
  • Emerging Skills/Opportunities-Could summer break cause significant problems for the student who is learning a critical skill
  • Regression/Recoupment-Is the student likely to lose any vital skills or fail to recover these skills within a reasonable time frame?
  • IEP Goals/Objectives Progression
  • Behavior-Does, the student’s behavior, interfere with his/her ability to benefit from special education?
  • Any special circumstances

As you can see… ESY (Extended School Year) is an incredible program for children who need it!

However, it is often quite TOUGH to get these services…

Keep in mind, there are a tremendous number of private services available and will not only help eliminate “brain drain,” but actually improve your child’s academics over the summer!

Special Education Tutoring has proven to show significant improvement in as little as one hour a week! The best part? This life-changing services can be provided anywhere an internet connection is available!


Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

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