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Developing Your Child's IEP
Present Levels, Goals & Services, Accommodations

Question 9.

Can my child's IEP include extracurricular activities and after-school programs?

Answer

Yes. Extracurricular activities enhance your child's life as a member of the school community. Many children with disabilities need supplementary aids and services so they can participate in academic and extracurricular activities with their classmates.

When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, Congress amended the law to ensure that children with disabilities could participate in extracurricular activities and other nonacademic activities.

A 2010 court ruling held that IDEA requires school districts to take steps to provide extracurricular and nonacademic activities to afford the student an equal opportunity to participate.

The IEP team must determine which activities are appropriate and include them in the IEP. These activities are not limited to activities that “educate the child.”

Since IDEA does not define “extracurricular and nonacademic activities” you must look to the federal regulations for specific language.

“Section 300.107(b) provides a nonexhaustive list of examples of extracurricular and nonacademic activities. Section 300.107(b) expressly includes athletics, clubs, and activities offered by groups sponsored by the school district. But the section does not otherwise limit those extracurricular and nonacademic activities eligible for inclusion in the IEP.”

“Section 300.117 does not limit what qualifies as an extracurricular and nonacademic activity. Instead, the section further defines extracurricular and nonacademic activities to include meals and recess as well as the activities listed in section 300.107(b)."

Examples of Nonacademic Services and Extracurricular Activities:

  • Sports
  • Counseling
  • Health services
  • Recreation
  • School newspaper and literary magazines
  • Band
  • Chorus
  • Special interest groups and clubs

Legal Resource

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs Chapter 5 - Related Services, Supplementary Aids & Services

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

IDEA

20 U.S.C. § 1401(33)

20 U.S.C.§ 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)

IDEA Regulations

34 C.F.R. §300.42

34 C.F.R. §300.117

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of Education Clarifies Schools' Obligation to Provide Equal Opportunity to Students with Disabilities to Participate in Extracurricular Athletics, Jan 25 2013

Creating Equal Opportunities for Children and Youth with Disabilities to participate in Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics

MN Supreme Court Refuses to Limit Extracurricular & Nonacademic Activities to those that “Educate the Child”

Denying Access to IEPs for Regular Teachers

State Special Education Regulations and Guidelines. You will find your specific state regulations at your State Department of Education website. Use the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities to locate your state site.

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