You all know that on Monday we went to battle again for Little Miss's IEP. We had two fights clearly in mind... getting extended school year (ESY) services in place for Little Miss and adding some kind of behavioral intervention to Little Miss's related services. We had one win -- we got ESY. So, I'll start with the good news.
Please note, I'm going into a little more of the legal detail here in hopes that it might benefit other parents. It's a little dry, but if it helps just one family, I think you'll all agree that it's worth your being bored to tears.
Under IDEA, ESY should be included in a child's related services based on the following factors (see Reusch v. Fountain):
- Regression and recoupment - is the child likely to lose critical skills or fail to recover these skills within in a reasonable time;
- Degree of progress toward IEP goals and objectives;
- Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities - Will a lengthy summer break cause significant problems for a child who is learning a key skill, like reading;
- Interfering Behavior - does the child’s behavior interfere with his or her ability to benefit from special education;
- Nature and/or severity of disability;
- Special circumstances that interfere with child’s ability to benefit from special education.
We argued that because Little Miss would be unable to practice her attending and social communication goals over the summer break, she was likely to lose skills in this area and return to school next fall with significant regression. The hubs (brilliantly) gave the example of what would happen if we were to change schools right now and everyone on the team agreed that Little Miss would show significant regression in these areas. The director gave the nod for ESY.
So, the next argument is what will Little Miss's ESY look like?
The school was quick to tell us that ESY services in district would not allow Little Miss to practice the skills we highlighted for ESY services in her IEP. And then they just stopped. So, I asked if the school knew of any out-of-district related services that might work. They were able to suggest one camp (a little disappointing, I know).
Luckily, after all the touring we've been doing, the hubs and I were already considering some summer camps for Little Miss, so we were able to offer more suggestions for the school to consider. Moral of the story? If you're going to request ESY, don't trust that the school will be able to tell you what ESY should look like. It may be their jobs to know about resources to help your child, but our school, at least, was woefully uneducated in this area.
Ugh... I'm getting as long-winded as Jim and I haven't even gotten to the behavioral part! Tell you what... I'm going to let this post go as it is and try to post on our second battle tomorrow. I have to get Little Miss ready for speech therapy now, so I'll see you all then!