The vast majority of students with disabilities have been offered no compensatory services, a new survey finds, despite deep concerns from parents about learning loss and regression amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 18% of students with disabilities have been offered any compensatory services from their school, according to findings from a national survey conducted by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, or COPAA.

The nonprofit, which works to advocate for the rights of students with disabilities and their families, surveyed 254 parents of children with disabilities in 36 states and 206 school districts in late October and early November.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

More than five out of six parents said that their kids experienced learning loss, regression or slower than expected progress toward goals after the emergence of COVID-19 led to school closures and remote learning. Nonetheless, only a quarter of families indicated that they were given any information from their child’s school about the availability of compensatory services.

Even when the makeup services were offered, parents often reported that they were not individualized, appropriate or adequate to account for what was lost. And, 44% of parents said they did not know when promised services would begin.

The vast majority of parents who were told that their children were not eligible for compensatory services disagreed with the determination and nearly half tried to overturn the decision, the survey found.

“It is incredibly discouraging to learn that the majority of public school districts responsible for providing services to children with disabilities are deliberately ignoring or minimizing the need to provide individualized educational supports and services to students with disabilities, especially since we know that COVID-19 has had an outsized impact on these students,” said Denise Marshall, CEO of COPAA.

Recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that compensatory services may be warranted for children with disabilities in light of disruptions to services during the pandemic. The guidance notes that individualized education program, or IEP, teams can determine if such services are needed.

Read more stories like this one. Sign up for Disability Scoop's free email newsletter to get the latest developmental disability news sent straight to your inbox.