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Summer’s Over – and our ESY Services Never Happened!

by Pam Wright

My child’s IEP said she was to receive ESY services – OT, PT, and Speech Therapy. ST was provided throughout the summer. There was no OT or PT. The district stated it was not able to find therapists. They said I could find a therapist, and I did. Then, the district failed to provide information in a timely manner to the therapy agency. No services were provided during summer.

The school offered to provide these services during the school year to “make up.” But my child regressed in all of her motor skills during the summer. I thought avoiding this regression was the reason for ESY?

I’m sorry to hear that the school dropped the ball on your child’s OT and PT this summer. Unfortunately, this problem is not unusual.

The school is offering to “compensate” your child by providing the services, now, that they were required to provide in the summer (ESY services). Compensatory services is a common remedy when a school fails to implement an IEP. I assume they plan to provide compensatory services, in addition to the services they agreed to provide during this school year.

I do have some questions (you’ve already answered one).

  • Did your child regress during the summer?
  • How much did she regress?
  • Do you have objective data about her skills at the end of the last school year and now, at the beginning of this school year?
  • Can you “measure” her regression?

If you can demonstrate her regression, you may be able to request that she receive more intensive services now, to bring her up to where she should have been if the school hadn’t dropped the ball.

Here’s another suggestion. History tends to repeat itself. Since the school did not provide OT and PT services this summer, you and the school need a backup plan if these problems occur again.

By law:

  1. the school can either provide services or,
  2. they can contract with non-school providers to provide services.

You can request that a private agency provide services, or that the private agency is informed that they may be needed (and they have her records). In that event, they can step into the breach quickly if problems crop up again.

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10 Comments on "Summer’s Over – and our ESY Services Never Happened!"


What exactly defines regressed. I begged for ESY…was told he didnt qualify. This summer our son was dx’d with childhood onset schizophrenia..he has many other disabilities as well…aspergers, tourettes’ mild CP etc. It’s was a very bad summer he needs the routine a classroom environment provides. Would he qualify?


In making eligibility decisions for ESY, the team may not rely on one factor. Some states use the following.
1. Regression and recoupment – is the child likely to lose critical skills or fail to recover these skills within in a reasonable time
2. Degree of progress toward IEP goals and objectives
3. Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities – Will a lengthy summer break cause significant problems for a child who is learning a key skill, like reading
4. Interfering Behavior – does the child’s behavior interfere with his or her ability to benefit from special education
5. Nature and/or severity of disability
6. Special circumstances that interfere with child’s ability to benefit from special education
7. Availability of other resources
8. Areas of the child’s curriculum that need continuous attention
9. Child’s vocational needs

Your state department of education establishes criteria for ESY services. Get a written copy of your state’s policy. Here’s a success story about how one mom got ESY after research state policy.
Read Chapter 12 on ESY in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs.
Read the articles and information on the ESY page at Wrightslaw.


Lisa, I had to get creative for several reasons as my middle school child is dyslexic, involved in several extracurricular activities, etc. She does well BUT, like most of her friends, she is resistant to ESY–even though the school provided excellent ESY for two years during past summers. As a teenager, she does not want any ESY. I cannot force her as she has some great camps to attend and summer leadership camp training. What can a parent do? She and I are doing a mother-daughter book club and writing short critical thinking reports as she needs to better develop critical thinking skills as part of her IEP goals as she plans to attend college. The teacher recommended this and my child agreed. My child is using self advocacy. I cannot force ESY on a teenager but there are creative options.


I am perflexed. It has taken YEARS to obtain a 1:1 for our boy who has significasnt short and long term memory deficits and an IEE that shows he really cannot remeber general daily school schedules. He requires 1:1 support to function at all in the school enviornment without feeingl totally “lost”.. The district is denying ESY for our studen based.upon one subject, math. Since he rememered the order of operation one day but “lost it” the next they deny ESY because “he didn’t make any significant progress” for 6 weeks when his teacher worked with him 3 X per week. Developmentally our student is at K to 1st grade levels going into High School next year. The school dist. says they will pull 1:1 supports asap as well as they do not provide an aid “for memory issues”. HELP! Advice PLEASE!


My daughter has high-functioning Autism. I refused a transfer for her from a low-performing school. So I decided to homeschool. Since qualifies for special education services, I was told that she would not qualify for ESY.


just to be clear, ESY is to retain what they have already learned so they won’t regress! :)
I’m stil learning 😉 My son is in the 8th grade @ a public school.
I got a call last year and they said, they weren’t doing “academics” at all, it was more of a vocational education?! Is this normal and/or ok??