Should Your Child’s IEP Include Extended Year Services (ESY)?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Some children with disabilities require special education and related services longer than the usual school year in order to receive FAPE. Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and/or related services provided beyond the usual school year, at times when school is not usually in session – typically during the summer.

ESY services are different from summer school, summer remedial classes, and summer enrichment programs. ESY services are individualized, based on the child’s needs as documented in the IEP, and are free of charge to parents.

Decisions about whether your child will receive ESY services and what services he will receive will be made by your child’s IEP team. You are a member of the IEP team. An IEP meeting is held to consider your child’s needs for ESY services. This meeting must be conducted like any other IEP meeting with appropriate prior notice.

You, the child’s teacher(s), related service providers, or administrators may request an IEP team meeting to consider your child’s need for ESY services!

If these services are not already part of your child’s IEP, you need to consider whether they would be necessary to meet his unique needs. If so, you should consider convening an IEP meeting to revise the IEP to include these services.

Your state department of education develops the criteria for Extended School Year services for schools in your state. These criteria will differ from state to state. Your state department of education will be influenced by legal decisions about Extended School Year services in your state or circuit courts. These issues lead to confusion about Extended School Year services for children with disabilities.

The Regression-Recoupment Myth

You may receive incorrect information about ESY from the staff at your child’s school. For example, you may be told that ESY services are not available for children in your child’s disability category. School staff may tell you they only use a “regression-recoupment” formula to determine which children are eligible for ESY services. Although these statements are legally incorrect, you will need documentation to make your case.

You need to know what the law and regulations say.You will find that Extended School Year (ESY) is not mentioned in the IDEA statute, but it is in the IDEA regulations. Read the IDEA regulation about ESY at 34 CFR § Section 300.106

Contact your state department of education ( Ask that they send you all information they publish about Extended School Year services. Next, visit the web site of your state department of education. Search the site for information about “Extended School Year” and “ESY.”

Learn more about Extended School Year (ESY) Services

  1. My son has been in ESY for 4 years now~not sure how much learning but I know he enjoys going.For what is it worth.

    • Alexandrea – Extended School Year (ESY) services are designed to help your child maintain his skills rather than lose ground when school is not in session. ESY is not the same as summer school, summer remedial programs, or child care. ESY is not limited to the summer months.

      Take a look at the information in this issue of the Special Ed Advocate,

  2. Hi, i have been wondering can a student with an IEP that has not so good of a grade in math, will they have to be put in summer school?

  3. My 10 year old recently had an iep administered but the school staff said she did not qualify for summer school. I know that she desperately needs it to keep up with her grade level. So i will get their response in writing and then proceed accordingly.
    Thanks for your help.

  4. I am wondering if someone can direct me to caselaw or policy resources addressing the matter of providing extended school year services to a student who, because of a custody arrangement, is not physically present during a break during which they would typically get services. For example, let’s say an IEP includes ESY services during July, but the student spends the entire month of July several states away with a noncustodial parent. I am wondering about the resident school district’s duty in such a situation.

    • I know for a fact if ESY is in a IEP then no matter what state your son resides in over the summer that school district provides the ESY. My son spends summers in VA with his dad and he goes to ESY there.

  5. I find school districts are using “regression-recoupment” as a means to deny access to summer programs. In my situation summer programs labeled “summer school” have always been accessible to Special Ed students….. $$$ districts don’t want to pay for extra teachers after regular session.

    • But my understanding is that money can’t legally be used as a reason. The stat usually covers the cost, not the school.

  6. Every member of the IEP team is accountable for making sure the child is getting the services they need to ensure a FAPE.

    Not sure what informal “regression testing” by schools means. If it’s been done with my child, I’ve never been made aware of it. What I’ve learned is that subjective comments by people carry much more weight if the comments can be backed up with reliable and valid quantitative data. Wrightlaw: From Emotion To Advocacy shows parents how to assess whether their child is making adaquate progress, so they can effectively advocate for their child. I would have been completely lost If it wasn’t for this site and the accurate information that Pete and Pam provide in their books.

  7. I am a mother of an eleven year old son with autism. The school district has denied him extended school year services for several years based on “not enough regression”. He is non-verbal, just diagnosed with some cognitive impairment, is not fully potty trained, has OCD, Tics, and GI problems that make learning very difficult for him. Does anyone have advice on what I can do?

  8. As an SLP, I’m confused by “there’s no way to gauge whether she has regressed.” Therapists and teachers conduct what is called regression testing after long breaks to see if the child is retaining the skills he/she has learned. It doesn’t have to be formal. Checking for regression is part of therapy.

  9. Sara, you could request a multifactored evaluation at the end of the school year (june or july) and sign the school’s request form for the test (don’t rely on a letter requesting this. You must sign the school’s form). This will force them to get the evaluation completed at the beginning of the next school year in September. Most children would show regression at this time and the test should clearly show it. I know it means more wasted time but should show what you need to prove your point. Remember that ESY can be used for compensatory time as well if your child did not get the allotted hours in the school year. All 3 of my children received ESY their entire school career because of regression/recoupment.

  10. My daughter is 10 years old and has always been denied ESY. She has severe Autism, is non-verbal, not potty trained, and has significant global developmental delays. She requires one on one help at all times. We have always been denied ESY on the basis that there is no way to gauge whether she has regressed over the summer. However, I firmly believe that she loses skills over the summer, and it takes her awhile in September to get used to being in school again and being able to learn. Is there a way for me to obtain ESY for her? I’m thinking continued speech therapy, continued communication help (she uses assistive technology and is just learning how to use these), continued Occupational and Physical therapy.. basically a continuation of her IEP over most of the summer. Is this possible for her?

    • I would argue, since there is no way for them to test her regression, how have they tested her progress? Therefore, she needs year-round education.

  11. My school is refusing to provide ESY transportation, too. The Team agreed on all the ESY criteria on that page of the IEP. But my district calls its program a Summer Enrichment Program. Since it’s not “mandatory,” they don’t have to provide transportation. The logic boggles my mind. I want to make the point that if we sent her to another ESY program, they would have to transport. We are attending their Summer Program, she fits all the ESY criteria, but the program is not an “ESY.” Oh, and they provide transportation for 2 of my daughter’s classmates. Both kids are in wheelchairs, and the school transports them “as a courtesy.” I’m not begrudging them that. Just saying the logic they use is crazy. Any thoughts?

  12. WNGTIA Too bad you did not have a tape recorder or a witness for the discussion. Keep after them to give you the documentation and put the request in writing and send it certified mail. You can document the meeting as a sort of minutes and send it to everyone and keep a copy for yourself. We had to prove regression/recoupment by hiring a speech pathologist ( that was you son’s area of disability) to come to the IEP meeting to show it on a graph. This helped us get the ESY for our son. My son got ESY every summer since Kindergarden because of the regression/recoupment issue. if you need to you may have to hire an advocate or attorney to get what you want. IT will be worth it if the school does not cooperate.

  13. I attended an IEP mtg last month for my child. At the beginnning of the mtg we were told about how hard they had to work at the beginning of 3rd grade to get my child back to where she had been at the end of 2nd grade. I asked the teacher if that would be an example of regression and recoupment. The teacher replied, “Exactly!” At the end of the mtg, when we got to the section for ESY services, the district had already checked the box as NO. I told them we felt our child did need ESY simply based on our discussion at the beginning of the mtg. They started backtracking and said that they did not say that. They then produced data stating that my child started out the school year a full grade level higher in reading, writing and math. I asked for copies of their documentation but have not received any. We did not sign IEP. What should I do?

  14. I have a 3 year old son. Diagnosed with autism, and non-verbal. He goes to special Ed preschool through the district, but it is only 2 1/2 hours each day. This leaves very little time for one-on-one therapy(speech,occupational, etc.). Would ESY apply to extra speech therapy after school during the school year his developmental pediatriticion recommended full 8 hr. school days, or is there other things the school should do?

    • Yes! If he’s attending ESY, he’s definitely entitled to all the services listed in his IEP. Maybe you can arrange the services around his 2 & 1/2 hours of school separately

  15. My older dyslexic child does not want ESY this year. Our summers are short. I can truly emphatiize with him. I am working with the case manager to experiment with something that could work for him over the summer to keep his skills up. His main issues are word retrieval and executive functioning along with the dyslexia. He is willing to dedicate the time to any alternative to ESY, but he desperately needs to enjoy time outside, camps and some vacation time. He will listen to books on tapes, etc. and is open to anything but ESY over the summer in a classroom with a teacher 2-3 times a week. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  16. Lynne – My son had ESY every summer of his entire school career because he would regress so much without it he would take too long to catch up each new school year it was detrimental to his education. He is dyslexic & ADD and memory issues. The goal of ESY is to maintain what your son has achieved in the previous school. Your son needs enough ESY to do this. If he is still taking a long time to adjust in the new school year 30 minutes may not be enough. Remember that transportation should be included.

  17. We live in Massachusetts. My son’s school finally agreed to an ESY for his social skills goal. They are offering him a 30 minute group once a week. My son has PDD-NOS & ADD with behavior issues. He does not need academic. He cannot attend summer camps on his own (I tried for last 2 years was a disaster) He wanders where he needs a 1:1 on field trips at school. There are camps in Mass but cost $5,000+. Is the school required to offer him more? I am looking at workshops on my own, but every year he goes back to school & it takes him 3 months to get acclimated. It becomes a distraction al around. The school is aware of this. I am thinking of obtaining and advocate because I don’t know if 30 minutes is good enough. Thank you.

  18. I live in ny and have many students that fell back several reading levels over the summer. Does this mean that they qualify for esy? Can i name the type of services that they need? Wilson reading for children with dyslexia and Leveled Literacy Intervention.

    Also, I have a friend that was told that her son with autism only gets summer speech services for 6 weeks. Shouldn’t it be the entire summer?? Who determines length of services?

  19. By the time my child received ESY, my child was over 4 grade levels behind in reading. No one told me about ESY and when I asked about summer help, I was told, “our child does not qualify.” I hired an advocate and WOW, he qualified for ESY. I have come to terms with the fact that no ill was ever intended towards my child. DIstrict stafff has restraints that are political, budgetary and outdated practices and procedures. My advocacy for my child opened the door for other students receiving better services because I spoke up and became aware. It is not about ESY as much as it is about school district staff following IDEA. A warning to parent–if you cannot hire an advocate go to almost every workshop on special ed. They cannot argue with the law.

  20. I just had an IEP for my child to see if she qualifies for a SCIA. Of the course the answer no again and I didn’t sign the IEP. Instead I informed the team that I would file for due process. There are a multitude of reasons for filing. My child is transitioning to the 4th grade and cannot read, write, spell, or perform basic mathematic skills. This has been an ongoing situation for the last four years. We asked for the SCIA for educational purposes but instead it was based on personal care and behavior; not what we asked at all. I have previously filed for due process which lead to mediation and some issues were remedied but here I am again doing the same thing again; filing. There is a list of complaints different from before but I am unsure if I can claim my child has not received FAPE. Help would be very much be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Try a verticy learning program. I was once in Special Education and I tell you that it doesn’t always help children with disabilities. 75% of the time they barely teach a thing. What was your child’s labeling they gave her? They might it base it on the labeling thinking she is incapable of learning. Special Education wasn’t much help to me. Try your child on a stimulate such as Ritalin or Adderal. If she isn’t reading they’re not teaching her at all.

  21. The IDEA commentary says:

    “The concepts of ‘‘recoupment’’
    and ‘‘likelihood of regression or
    retention’’ have formed the basis for
    many standards that States use in
    making ESY eligibility determinations
    and are derived from well-established
    judicial precedents… States
    may use recoupment and retention as
    their sole criteria but they are not
    limited to these standards and have
    considerable flexibility in determining
    eligibility for ESY services and
    establishing State standards for making
    ESY determinations.”

    So, Wrightslaw, why do you say that regression/recoupement is “legally incorrect”? Can you explain?

  22. I have a 5 yr old child who is autistic. He was enrolled in our local county school with an IEP for 2 years. Not only did he fail to retain skills, he not once mastered any of his annual goals. When we asked about ESY, we were told that our school district did not offer ESY. My husband and I were lost, didn’t have a clue what to do when he was diagnosed. Thanks to my relentless determination, we finally found a school for my child until we could decide what to do with our local school. We didn’t want to waste a minute of his precious time.

  23. My son (3 1/2) has made great progress in school precisely because he benefits from the structured environment. At home it’s another story, due to PDD/NOS issues, another sibling with autism, and sensory problems. Behaviors include: aggression; stimming/perseveration; running away in public places. I fear the school district will not approve ESY for him because of a focus only on regression (the only one mentioned in NY State Dept Q&A on ESY).

    (1) Can anyone clarify whether the other standards (e.g. “window of opportunity for emerging skills”) from federal court decisions (see newsletter) still applies for NY residents?
    (2) How can I make a stronger case for my son? My key fear is behavioral regression, which unfortunately is documented only by me.

  24. My daughter is profoundly impaired with autism but has emerging skills in speech, reading and writing. We are moving to a new school system at the end of school. I’ve asked her new district to be part of planning ESY and they have refused to participate. Our school says they will write ESY and it will be up to our new school to approve or reject it. I’m worried this is about to become controversial as our school is fairly affluent and the new school is in an area with limited resources. I don’t want to be a bully and I’ve tried meetings, emails, phone calls and cookies. I simply see no interest from the new school. Is there any way to make this situation better? Do I have any legal rights requiring them to help plan this difficult transition?

    • If ESY is written in her IEP, the new school cannot reject, they must provide ESY to her no matter what school district you go to….if they reject it, ask them to give it to you in writing and which law states that. If you need to be a bully, be one for your daughter!

    • If you agree with it, yes, if the child is doing well in speech….but if you still want speech services… don’t agree to have them take it away or not give speech services to you.

  25. Can my childs school which have a IEP for my son. They had him in regular classes, we had a iep meeting . Then 4 moths later the teacher decided to pull my son from all his classes, and put him in just her 1 classroom all day. He refuses to work now. Can she do this without a iep change or meeting? HELP. He doesnt like her so he’s going to fail now as hes not working. adhd child. School believes he has more!

    • No she cannot pull your son out from a gen ed class like that with an IEP team meeting… you need to request an IEP meeting ASAP!!

  26. Just a reminder that `if you want ESY addressed or updated for your child for this summer, you need to be preparing & approaching the school soon.

  27. Theresa,

    Look at the IL document at , especially questions 2, 4, 8, 10. These may give you support & ideas for pushing the team on the areas of concerns.

    Also look at the autism document at, if you have not already done so.

    Also check with your state Parent Training & Information Center to see what type of help they can give you. Chances they have helped parents with requests for ESY.

  28. ESY for social/behavior goals.

    My question is how to measure?

    What tests show need?

    If there is not a test to measure, can IEP be based on observations and statements of previous patterns during breaks?

  29. ESY for social skills and following directions / compliance

    What test to measure?

    How do I proceed?

    I would expect without appropriate, trained and intense lessons my son with autism will regress.

    How do I discuss ESY for my team. What I read is only about test scores and grades, and yet the academic deficits of autism are social skills and behavior. HELP!

    I have read the state regs (IL).

  30. Theresa

    Go to the state education agency’s website & look at the definition of ESY that it uses. Each state develops their own definition. While most definitions mention regression, there may be something else there that can help you build a case for ESY.

    Also see if the state has any special rules for students with autism. The Academy of Pediatricians recommends that children w/ autism have services year round. Some states have picked up on this & included it in their rules.

    Good luck.

  31. Does ESY apply if a child has not met in social / behavioral IEP goals? The child has a diagnosis of autism but is very verbal and ok on most academic areas. Traditional summer school is mostly for math/reading catch-up and would not meet his needs. He cannot attend summer camps on his own, he does not have the social skills or frustration management skills to be able to attend safely.
    Thanks for any advice on ESY. The school has stated that the social and communication deficits of autism cannot be measured with a research based tool (child has the ADOS and recent Vineland and WISC).

  32. I just learned of your website today, after talking with Equip for Equality. Our situation is this: Our 21 year old son (DOB 9-10-87) has CP, is non-ambulatory and non-verbal. He functions at a level of a 12 mo. old. He is totally dependent. He is in a special education program in the school system (we are in Illinois). He has attended summer school for the last eight years. We have requested he attend summer school this summer, since by law, we feel he is entitled to school until the day before his 22nd birthday. The “team” is fighting us and has said summer school is an option only if he needs it for his transition to a full day care program (which he will attend when he is 22 yrs old). They are proposing he begin transition soon and begin day care after the semester ends in May. We prefer summer school/transition.Please help

  33. My son was given the ABBLS-R assessment at school and it showed considerable regression. Is this an evaluation that we can have done independently at public expense?


  34. Cara: The public school is responsible for providing a child with FAPE – special education, related and supplementary services designed to meet his unique needs..

    So, the public school is responsible for providing/paying for the assistive technology and related services he needs. The public school can either pay directly, or they can contract with another entity to provide these services. Placing a child in an out-of-district placement does not eliminate the school’s responsibility to provide FAPE.

  35. if a child’s iep calls for assistive technology and they are placed in an out of district placement by the town, who is responsible for providing the assisstive technology? the town agreed to do a consult/eval for the child and found he needs certain things, but neither the town or the private school is willing to provide…they are saying it is each other’s respsonsibility.
    thank u

  36. I have found that obtaining ESY is highly dependent on good documentation. The first few tests of the school year are VERY important. Document the time the student spends preparing for a test, the test grades (if failing), and comments from the teacher regarding the student’s preparedness at the beginning of the year. I usually ask a teacher to do this in a little note after the first two weeks of school.

    If you have carefully documented that your child had more than the normal amount of regression during the summer months, it is highly likely that you will not be refused ESY services.

    Automatic assumption that once ESY always ESY is not true. once. You will have to follow through on documentation each year.

    This information can also help to support you if you feel the correct intervention is not in place.

    Sharon 🙂

  37. One of my children did qualify for ESY on the basis that he failed to show progress (regression). However, my daughter qualified for ESY, because she was “on the verge” or at a turning point (I think it was worded at a “pivotal point”) in her reading instruction. Was not easy to get ESY for either child, but thanks to the Wrights, I was able to. Since that time (last summer), my daughter has improved her reading from 69 words per minute to 120 words per minute on her grade level, when assessed using the AIMSWeb assessment. You have to remember though, that we have the appropriate reading program in place as well. However, the ESY really helped both kids. Thanks Pam, Pete and staff for empowering parents, which enables our children to succeed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please help us defeat spam. Thank you. *