Ask the Experts

Avoid the Summer Learning Slide

“My nine-year-old daughter, who has LD and ADHD, has an IEP. I noticed last year that she lost a lot of ground during long holidays — like winter and spring breaks — and during the summer. Can I get any services for my daughter to keep her on top of her academics when she is away from school?”

Most children lose some academic skills or regress over the long summer break. Students with serious learning or other disabilities who receive services under IDEA tend to lose even more academic ground during the break. These students may be entitled to Extended School Year (ESY) services over the summer (or during other breaks in the regular school calendar), but only if their IEP team determines that such services are necessary. If ESY services are provided, they must be at no cost to the parents and must be consistent with the student’s IEP.

There is no specific standard in the law as to when services may be necessary, but courts that have looked at this question have cited such factors as whether the child would experience significant regression of skills or knowledge, and whether the gains the child made during the school year would be significantly jeopardized if he were not provided with an educational program during the summer.

If you believe that your child needs ESY services, you should schedule a meeting with her IEP team as soon as possible and discuss it.