Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Extended School Year

image from: http://autism-support.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/kids-running.jpg

I swear SensiGirl always makes some big leap in skills or has a breakthrough right before the school year ends. Luckily she qualifies for Extended School Year here in Saint Paul. She attends 5 extra weeks of school during the summer to help her retain her skills and keep her from regressing.  That's the key. There are magic/legal words you need to use to get your child services. I will share with you all the magic words I know.  The ones for ESY are lack of progress and regression.  My son, Random Guy, doesn't qualify for ESY and hasn't since he was in Kindergarten. He does qualify for summer school with the school district and we have had success with having him attend regular education summer school. It only lasts 3 weeks, so I fill in with Community Education classes in things he likes, Legos, fencing, art, etc.  For Random Guy, he needs to maintain social skills over the summer, and our matrix fits the bill.
Different states have different standards legally that have been created in that locality. Do not take legal advice from school personnel is what the website is what wrightslaw.com advises.  As with most special educations issues we have entered the realm of legalese.  If it comes to a conflict with the school district about extended school year, get some more information from the Internet and then consult with a lawyer.  It can be hard to argue with all the legal terms used with this issue.  The disability services in your community usually have a list of lawyers who specialize in education and disability law.  

The basics of the law are as follows; regression is not the only factor in deciding if a child needs ESY services.  Several additional factors the IEP team should consider in making ESY decisions are:
Recoupment in the fall
Child's rate of progress
Child's behavioral or physical problems
Availability of alternative resources
Areas of the Child's curriculum that need continuous attention
Window of opportunity for educating a special needs child

What if your districts' summer school isn't appropriate for your child? Can you have services provided in your home?  Will the school district pay for a summer camp that has the services your child needs to maintain progress until school starts in the fall?  Is there a specific organization that they may have worked out a relationship to provide for special needs kids in the summer? If you want the school district to pay for services, make sure to broach the subject long before summer is upon you.  Explore and find out if they have paid for these things for other families. 

Sometimes you find you end up with more questions than answers.  Hopefully what I wrote today will get your wheels turning to find out what is available for your child this summer.

  Here are some links to check:

For ESY legal information see:


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