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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-084

On October 27, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Brown Deer School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year, implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding personal care needs and properly reviewed and revised the student’s IEP for the 2008-2009 school year regarding behavioral redirection techniques.

During the September 20, 2007 IEP team meeting, the parent expressed concern to the school staff that her child needed to be on a consistent toileting schedule for the four half-days the child was at school. The IEP did not include a toileting schedule because the school staff stated a visual schedule, which included a toileting schedule, was already in place for all students. However, the parent maintains the toileting schedule was not followed consistently during the school year, as evidenced by her visits to the child’s classroom and reports to the parent from the in-home therapist who was in the classroom throughout the school year. The school staff, including the special education teacher, speech and language therapist and IEP case manager stated the toileting schedule was followed from the start of the 2007 school year.

At the parent’s request, on April 23, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to discuss the parent’s concerns regarding her child’s half-day programming including the toileting schedule. The IEP team determined the toileting schedule would continue but would be adjusted to include an additional afternoon scheduled time. This service was incorporated in the April IEP. The department determines the district appropriately responded to the parent concerns regarding toileting, and the district implemented the child’s IEP.

The parent alleges a school staff person used an inappropriate technique to redirect her child’s attention to instruction and directives. Specifically, the staff person would briefly touch the child’s face on the chin or nose with fingers to direct the child’s head back to the task with the intent to fade out this touch prompt as the child was able to independently redirect attention. The parent requested the school staff not touch the child’s face.

An IEP team meeting was held on September 9, 2008, to discussion appropriate behavioral redirection techniques. The IEP states the child will receive “Positive reinforcement and verbal cueing to attend to task to include: Red Light Green Light strategy, consistent verbal cues i.e., keep working” and “Consistent verbal cueing to decrease/eliminate pinching behavior i.e., soft hands.” The staff person no longer uses the face touching to redirect the child’s attention. The district properly reviewed and revised the student’s IEP for the 2008-2009 school year regarding behavioral redirection techniques and considered the parent’s input.

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

//signed CST 12/18/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy