The school year has officially come to an end! However, your child may be eligible to receive extended school year services (ESY) if he or she receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

What are Extended School Year Services? 

The IDEA regulations define “extended school year services” as special education and related services that are provided to a child with a disability beyond the normal school year of the public agency (typically the school district), in accordance with the child’s IEP, at no cost to the parents of the child, and meets the standards of the state educational agency.

ESY services are not limited to the summer break. Instead, ESY services can be an extension of a student’s normal school day, such as a special tutoring program. In addition, it is important to note that ESY services are not necessarily a continuation of the student’s entire special education program. Some students may need only certain instruction and/or related services (such as reading instruction or speech/ language therapy) outside of the normal school year.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ESY SERVICES?

Any student who is eligible to receive special education and related services may be eligible for ESY. A student’s need or eligibility for ESY is determined by his IEP team, which includes the student’s parent(s). Ideally, the IEP team should consider the need for ESY services at the initial IEP meeting for a student who is newly eligible for special education and at each IEP meeting thereafter. However, if necessary an IEP meeting can be called for the express purpose of considering the student’s need for ESY services.  

What Criteria Are Used To Determine Eligibility? 

In addition to a host of other factors, the IEP team should consider regression and recoupment when determining a student’s need for ESY services. Regression focuses on whether the student is likely to lose critical skills during the time when services are not delivered. If the likelihood of regression is established the IEP team must focus on recoupment, which is the amount of time the student will require to re-learn the skills lost and whether it will be excessive.  

Many students lose certain skills over school breaks and must relearn those skills when back in school. The important distinction is whether the student with a disability will experience significantly more regression and will take significantly more time to recoup lost skills than a student without disabilities.