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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-033

On March 21, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Wauwatosa School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-08 school year, properly considered the parent’s concern regarding the visual motor integration (VMI) assessment and properly included the required participants during the individualized education program (IEP) team meeting.

In January 2008, the student was reevaluated for specific learning disability. At this time, the parent requested VMI testing. On February 21, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review the evaluation results, determine continued eligibility, and review and revise the annual IEP. District staff reported to the department the school psychologist discussed all test results including the test of VMI with the parent, both before and during the IEP meeting. Prior to the meeting, the parent shared two outside medical evaluations. One stated possible VMI problems and the other determined no problem. On April 9, the school staff and parent met to review the need for additional VMI assessment from the occupational therapist (OT). On April 22, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review the OT’s summary of findings report. The parent stated the OT did not conduct a VMI test on her child. The OT stated she did not administer the VMI test because it was given in February and to give the same test within a short timeframe would invalidate the test results. She did, however, interview the child and staff members regarding the child’s functional visual motor abilities in the school setting including extra curricular activities. At the April 22 IEP team meeting, the child’s accommodations were reviewed for appropriateness. An OT Individual Summary of Findings was provided to the IEP team participants including the parent. The IEP team determined no additional services were needed. The department concludes the district properly considered the parent’s concern regarding the VMI assessment at the April 22, 2008, IEP team meeting.

The parent also stated the district did not properly include the required participants at her child’s February 21 and April 22, 2008, IEP team meetings. A member of the IEP team may be excused from attending an IEP team meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent of a child with a disability and the school district agree, in writing, the attendance of the member is not necessary because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting. If the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is being modified or discussed, the member may be excused if the parent, in writing, and the school district consent to the excusal, and the member submits, in writing to the parent and the IEP team, input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting. In this case, the individual assigned to interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results left the February 21 meeting early after providing input to the team and the regular education teacher did not attend either meeting. The district did not obtain parent consent for excusing either of the required IEP team participants.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district will submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure all staff including regular and special education and related services staff understand the proper action to take when excusing a required IEP team participant from attending an IEP team meeting, in whole or part.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/20/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy