1) Encouragement
Encourage communication and self-representation; starting at an early age creates a sense of ownership over their learning and life.

2) Praise
Praise all efforts of decision making and problem solving; learning these skills encourages youth to develop independence and self empowerment.

3) Chances
Find a chance for youth to advocate for himself/herself at home and in school; encourage them to find solutions to challenges that others may not be aware.

4) Opportunities 
Provide opportunities for leadership roles at home and in school; this can help build self-confidence in the ability to learn.

5) Encourage
Encourage self-advocates to speak in class; Role play a situation with example of what they can say beforehand to practice. Kids who can effectively self advocate can communicate in social situations and even explain to friends why they may need extra help.

6) Teach
Teach about ways he/she can make accommodations or adaptations to help meet any needs; knowing what help or support is available removes barriers to learning.

7) Practice
Practice ways to help him/her make disability and accommodation needs known to others; and encourage students to understand what is in the IEP/504 and be able to communicate it to others.

8) Create opportunities
Create opportunities to talk about the disability in school, home, church, business and community. Ensure youth know about their disability so it can be explained to others, if needed.

9) Understanding
Understand abilities and limitations knowing everyone is different and unique. Encourage possibilities such as work, college or living independently.

10) Team
Allow for choices to be made as a team.  From an early age children should be encouraged to be as independent as possible and to help make choices about their life and their future. Have High expectations!

For More Information
Talk with the school and partner with them to help them understand your child and their needs. Attend meetings at the school for your child.

If your child is struggling in school, Contact PIC for more steps to take in supporting your child at school.

You may also view the Utah Parent Center Self-Determination video at

Adapted from National Center for Secondary Education and Technology.  For more information and strategies to help your child self advocate contact PIC.  

Extended school year services must be provided if a child’s IEP team determines, on an individual basis, that the services are necessary to provide Free Appropriate Public Education to the child. When considering the need for ESY, the team will determine if the child needs the services to continue to move toward accomplishment of the goals and objectives listed on the IEP.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines Extended School Year (ESY) as special education and related services that: 

1) Are available as necessary to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE);

2) Are provided to a child with a disability –

* Beyond the normal school year;
* In accordance with the child’s IEP;
*At no cost to the parents of the child; and

3) Meet the standards of the State Education Agency

Goals and Objectives
When considering ESY, the team will determine if the child needs the services to continue to move toward accomplishment of the goals and objectives listed on the IEP. 

Review Annually
The need for ESY should be considered at the annual IEP meeting for each child on an IEP.  

If the child’s IEP is held early in the school year, then a meeting to discuss ESY should be scheduled later in the year

Critical and Crucial
The IEP team should include any area that is crucial to the child’s progress toward “self-sufficiency”.

“Critical life skills” may include, but are not limited to: self-help, social skills, emotional support, mobility, communication, assistive technology, academics, and vocational skills. 

Scheduling based on Individual Need
ESY scheduling, as to duration, amount and extent of services, must be determined by the individual needs of the child and cannot be determined by the district’s summer school schedule.

Previously Learned Skills
New goals and objectives are not to be added to the child’s IEP for Extended School Year.

The object is maintenance of previously learned skills.

Consider Related Services
If the IEP requires related services, that may be lost over an extended time without them, it must be considered for ESY. 

Examples: speech, physical, occupational therapy, transportation, mobility training, vocation, and life skills training, etc. 

Need Determined
If the IEP team determines that a child needs ESY services, the district cannot say no.  Ask the district to either provide the services as determined by the IEP team or to put in writing why they cannot provide the services that are written in the IEP.

Reaching an Agreement
Many times, a district will provide the ESY services through a contractor. If the district and the parents cannot reach agreement, then the parents may exercise the procedural safeguards.

For More Information & Questions to Ask
The issue that determines if the child needs ESY is whether the progress made by the child during the regular school year.

For questions to ask to help in making these decisions, check out the PIC Brochure, Extended School Year: Helping to Accomplish Educational Goals.

View WY Dept of Ed’s guidance.

For more information and strategies to help your child accomplish educational goals through an Extended School Year (ESY), see PIC’s brochure Extended School Year (ESY) Helping to Accomplish Educational Goals

What is PHP of WY, Inc.?

Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming, Inc is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1990. Governed by a board of directors, the majority who are parents or family members of children with disabilities. PHP 's mission is to help families become more active in their children’s learning and education, to serve and support children with and without disabilities through advocacy, education, and referral. 

It is the policy of the Parent Information Center to ensure equitable access to and participation in its activities for all Wyoming families with special attention paid to ensuring access for the most underserved families due to poverty, disability, race, color, language, ethnicity, immigrant status or national origin, gender, or age.

PHP of WY is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization; therefore, your donation is tax deductible. We welcome all donations. Every donation helps us strengthen our network of support for families.

Parent Information Center
500 W. Lott Street Suite A, 
Buffalo, WY 82834 
(307) 684-2277