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Avoiding the Summer Slide in Students with Special Needs with Extended School Year Services

Knowing that my students are spending valuable time engaging with the best therapists available, and that accurate data is being collected, helps to ensure that our team has excellent information to consider when making informed decisions during IEP meetings.   The flexibility of working with PresenceLearning has enabled me to work directly with families and administrators to ensure that ESY services are being provided without interference to other important activities in each individual student’s life.

A Special Education Director from Florida

Summer is seen as a time for students to take a break, schedule vacations and forget about school for a while. However, summer break has the potential to negatively affect a student’s ability to retain information and this is especially pronounced in students with special needs. To combat what is commonly referred to as “Summer Slide,” the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a provision called “Extended School Year” or ESY. The provision allows for students to keep making progress on Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals throughout the summer in order to provide the student with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Special educators and administrators use a general standard to determine whether a student qualifies for ESY services. This standard is referred to as a “regression-recoupment” assessment, which weighs if a student will regress significantly without services, or will require a longer than usual time to recoup lost skills when school starts again. If the answer is “yes,” the student is entitled to ESY services. Other considerations include the nature and severity of the disability, areas of learning crucial to the student attaining self-sufficiency and independence, the student’s progress, and behavioral/physical needs. Schools also provide ESY services to students who missed or were not served therapy hours during the school year, known as compensatory time.

All of the requirements that apply to special education during the regular school year also apply to the delivery of ESY services. An example of this is the school’s requirement to place students in the least restrictive environment during ESY services.

The school does not have to provide all of the programs that would be available during a regular school year, but it must provide the services that are designated in the student’s IEP, including resource services, paraprofessional aides and speech and occupational therapy.

Districts often face resource and scheduling challenges during the summer. Online speech and occupational therapy expands districts’ access to highly qualified certified therapists and can alleviate issues in providing ESY services. The online format also allows for ease of scheduling and the ability to provide therapy in the least restrictive environment. PresenceLearning can support your district’s ESY services requirements by providing the necessary therapy to keep students progressing during the summer.

To get started with online speech and occupational therapy, click here for a demo or a price quote.

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