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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-008

On January 25, 2008 (form dated January 22), the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Greenfield School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year, properly responded to a parent’s request that the district include an alternate means of communication in her child’s individualized education program (IEP).

On November 29, 2007, a meeting (which was not considered to be an IEP team meeting) took place involving the parent, instructional aide, speech and language pathologist, classroom teacher, and the school principal. The purpose was to discuss a concern regarding the child’s progress in mathematics and how the aide had been communicating with the student. At the meeting, the parent asked about the use of alternative means of communication, such as picture cards. The classroom teacher and speech and language pathologist informed the parent that the student was making progress in his communication skills and needed to be using his words rather than non-verbal communication. The parent made no further comments about this issue, and the parent did not request an IEP team meeting. At this point, the district believed this concern had been addressed.

In the IDEA complaint, the parent again requested an alternate means of communication for the child. The district responded by conducting an IEP team meeting on February 27, 2008, the earliest time that the parent was available. The IEP team reviewed the child’s current IEP and considered the parent’s concerns regarding the child’s expressive language delays and the use of alternate means of communication. The IEP team determined that non-verbal means of communication were not appropriate for this student because of the goals of speech therapy and the child’s continued progress. At the meeting, district staff believed the IEP team, including the parent, had reached consensus on the issue. The department determines that the district properly responded to the parent’s request.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 3/18/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy