Extended School Year Tips!
Now that June has arrived and summer is upon us, many of our speech and language students may have changes in their services due to summer staff changes, time off from school and family vacations that may interfere with services, etc. If your child is in a special education preschool program, services most likely will continue through the summer. In our preschool we have a "stretch" schedule where services are delivered year-round with scheduled breaks every few weeks or so instead of one long 14 week summer break. For school age students who do not have a scheduled stretch schedule, they will need to qualify for "Extended School Year" (ESY) AKA special education summer services.
These differences can sometimes be confusing for parents. The following information found on a website entitled ABOUT.com under the topic of "Special Education" offers an overview definition of ESY services for school age students:
What is ESY?
Some students with special needs are in jeopardy of not being able to retain the skills they have learned during the school year unless given addition support throughout the summer. Those students eligible for ESY will receive an individualized program to support their learning and retention of skill throughout the summer holidays.
What does IDEA say about ESY?
Under (34 CFR Part 300) in IDEA Regulations (not the Act): 'Extended school year services must be provided only if a child's IEP team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with 300.340-300.350, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.'
The term extended school year services means special education and related services that-
(1) Are provided to a child with a disability-
(i) Beyond the normal school year of the public agency;
(ii) In accordance with the child's IEP; and
(iii) At no cost to the parents of the child; and
(2) Meet the standards of the SEA'
. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
How can I determine if a child qualifies?
The school, through the IEP team will decide if the child will qualify for ESY Services. The decision will be based on a variety of factors which include:
•the child's rate of progress
•the degree of impairment
•the child's behavioral and/or physical problems
•availability of resources
•the parents' ability to provide the structure at home
• the vocational and transitional needs of the child
• the child's ability to interact with non-disabled children
•and whether the service requested is 'extraordinary' rather than usual in consideration of the child's condition.
It is important to remember, key to qualifying is the child's regression during school breaks, these should be well documented and records or any supporting data should be on hand for the team meeting. The school team will also take into consideration the child's previous history, in other words, did having summer holidays mean re-teaching skills again upon school start up. The school team will look at previous regression. It is important to note that most students don't retain all skills taught, hence a spiraling curriculum. The degree of regression must be relatively extreme to qualify for ESY Services.
*IF your child is school age and qualifies for ESY and their services will be delivered by a therapist(s) different that your child's usual therapist, take some time to meet this person. Let them know you are an involved and concerned parent who is committed to your child's success.
*If your child is in preschool and will be receiving services through the summer, it is important to ask if your child's therapists will be changing. There are times when therapists will choose to take the summer off and a temporary therapist will be brought in to deliver services. Again, be proactive and introduce yourself to new personnel. You want these shortened summer services to be as useful and productive as possible and being involved with your child's education is a key component to making this happen!
Have questions about summer speech services? Write in and ask them here!