Are you the parent of a child with a disability who thinks that your child needs an educational program during the summer? Do long summer breaks cause your child with emotional disabilities to regress in behavior? Do you think that your child needs before or after school, educational services?This article will discuss the definition of Extended School Year (ESY),what services your child may be eligible for, and how it could help your child.

Extended school year is a term, to describe any special education and related services, which are given outside of the regular school year. This includes before and after school, special education services. School districts are required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to offer extended school year services, if the child needs it to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

There have been quite a few court cases about ESY, as well as policy letters from state board of educations, and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Check your state board of education for any policy letters on ESY. On February 4, 2003 OSEP released a policy letter that states A public agency may not limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability, or unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of these services. ESY must be provided
to the child, at no cost to the parent.

Children with disabilities can receive a lot of different services during ESY. They can receive educational services (reading, Math, written language), self help skills, functional skills to help them become independent, critical life skills, behavioral interventions, related services (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy). The list can go on and on. You must keep in mind that, your child must need ESY, in order to receive FAPE.

School districts are supposed to bring up ESY to parents in a timely manner, so that the any disagreements can be resolved at a due process hearing. In my opinion school districts sometimes do not bring it up, unless aparent insists.

Make sure that at your child’s annual review ESY is discussed. If your child tends to regress during the summer, has behavior that interferes with their education, behavior regresses during the summer break, your child could benefit from ESY. Also, if your child is just learning to read, they may need ESY to keep the progress going.

By understanding what ESY is and how your child can benefit, will help you advocate for needed services for your child.

Author's Bio: 

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families of children with disabilities navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies
Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information, to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: For more information on her book, testimonials, and a link to more free articles go to: