Can extracurricular activities be included in an IEP?
According to Section 300.107 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) every child has a right to equal access to school-sponsored activities such as clubs, arts programs, and dances. Any activity hosted by the school or district falls into this category. IDEA doesn’t explicitly define extracurricular activities, but lists generalized examples, including “athletics,” “recreational activities,” and “special interest groups or clubs.”
In the case of competitive programs such as athletics and some choir and theater productions, participation may be determined through a try-out process, which means a student will need to perform at a certain level to join the program or team. However, a child with disabilities has a right to try out with reasonable accommodations as determined by their IEP team. For example, if a student who is deaf wants to join the track team, it is reasonable for the coach to wave a flag rather than blow a whistle to signal to the runners that the race is starting.
For more information on extracurricular activities, check out our article Extracurricular Rights 101.