Special Education Tip #2: Does Your Child Need Extended Year Services?
School is about to end. What if my child still needs services?
Some children who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may be eligible for services beyond the normal school year. These services are commonly referred to as extended school year, or ESY, services. Although these services are typically delivered during summer vacation, as that is the longest break your child has from school, ESY services are not limited to the summer and can be provided during other breaks from school or as an extension of the normal school day.
Under the IDEA, extended school year services include special education and related services that are provided to a student with a disability beyond the normal school year, in accordance with a child’s IEP and, importantly, at no cost to the parents of the child. ESY programs should offer services that are consistent with a child’s IEP goals and objectives addressed throughout the school year; however they don’t necessarily have to be the same services delivered at the same frequency as provided during the regular school year.
Decisions about a student’s eligibility for ESY services and the type of service(s) needed will be made by your child’s IEP team. This determination can be made at an initial eligibility meeting, an annual review meeting, or even at an IEP meeting convened for the express purpose of considering the need for ESY services. As a parent, you are a member of the IEP team, and you or any other team member can request an IEP team meeting to consider your child’s need for ESY services. In Massachusetts, the team must consider whether or not a child receiving special education services needs an extended year program at least once annually and must record its determination in the IEP.
In terms of timing – the Team must consider the need for ESY services prior to the end of the regular school year or the beginning of the school break. If you are concerned about a lack of ESY services, make sure you address your concerns with your child’s IEP team before the end of the school year.
If you have further questions about ESY services, please contact us for more information.