Special Education – 6 Factors to Consider When Advocating for Extended School Year Services

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a learning disability,
who believes that your child needs educational services outside of the
school day? Have you been told that your child does not qualify for
summer school because there is no proof of regression?
This article will discuss the 6 factors that IEP teams must consider
when discussing Extended School Year (ESY).Extended school year is educational and related services outside of
the regular school year. The child must need ESY, in order to receive
a free appropriate public education (FAPE). ESY can extend beyond
summer school, if the child needs it.In the court case Reusch vs. Fountain the court found six factors for
IEP teams to consider in deciding if a child is eligible for ESY
services.Factor 1: Regression and Recoupment: Is the child likely to lose
critical academic or functional skills, or fail to recover these
skills within a reasonable time.
Many special education personnel only use regression and recoupment to
determine ESY eligibility. Courts and OSEP have ruled that this is not
the only consideration.Factor 2: Degree of progress toward IEP goals and objectives. If
your child did not make progress during the school year, you could use
this to ask for ESY.Factor 3: Emerging skills/and Breakthrough opportunities. Is your
child just starting to learn to read, and will a long summer break
prevent progress from continuing? You could use this as a reason to
ask for ESY, for your child with a disability.Factor 4: Interfering Behavior. Behavior that affects your child’s
ability to benefit from special education.Factor 5: Nature and Severity of Disability. OSEP released a policy
letter on February 4, 2003 that states A public agency may not limit
ESY services to particular categories of disability, or unilaterally
limit the type, amount, or duration of these services. Many school
districts were only offering extended school year services to children
with the most severe disabilities, this is not allowed.Factor 6: Special circumstances that interfere with your child’s
ability to benefit from special education. Was your child ill, or
missed a lot of school because of illness. You could use this reason
to ask for ESY services for your child.By using these 6 factors you will be able to advocate for ESY for your
child. Children with autism, and also learning disabilities often need
extended school year services, in order to benefit from their
education. You may have to fight for this important service, but it
will be worth it. After all, isn’t your child worth the fight!