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IDEA Complaint Decision 13-055

On October 24, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against XXXXX. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, beginning on October 24, 2012, properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) to address the student’s behavioral needs and properly implemented the student’s IEP.

The IEP team must consider the use of positive interventions and supports to address behavior when developing an IEP for a student whose behavior impedes the student’s learning or that of others. The IEP developed for the 2012-13 school year addressed behavior needs of the student. The statement of present level of academic and functional performance detailed the student’s difficulties, successes, and needs specific to behavior. The IEP team developed measurable annual goals to address behavior. The IEP included several positive behavioral interventions and supports such as movement breaks, fidget/chewy toys, small group work, visual schedule, previewing activities, preparing material prior to activities, redirection and prompting, desk organization tools, positive reinforcement, behavior chart, and assignment notebook checks. The IEP team also included one-on-one assistance, steps broken down, separate work space, reward chart, unfinished work sent home, and additional movement opportunities.

Beginning in February, the student’s behaviors and sensory needs began to escalate. An occupational therapy evaluation was completed and the team reconvened the IEP on April 12, 2013. The IEP team reviewed information from the previous IEPs, teacher observations, and data collected from a medication trial in January. In addition to adding occupational therapy, the IEP team also reviewed and revised the annual goals to address the student’s increased behaviors. The IEP team added annual goals that addressed self-awareness and initiating appropriate peer interactions. The IEP team added positive behavior supports that included verbal praise, foreshadowing of changes/transitions, color coded organizational tools, clear and consistent routines, choices, and daily positive statements from an adult. The IEP also developed additional supplementary aids and services that included sending math and spelling words home in the beginning of the week, assessment modifications, and a communication plan between home and school.

In September, the IEP team agreed it was necessary to collect additional information around social-emotional and behavior functioning through a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). On September 17, 2013, the district spoke to the parent about completing an FBA. On September 18, the parents informed the district that they did not agree to additional testing. The IEP team met on October 1 to review the student’s IEP. Because the parents did not provide consent for additional testing, the IEP team used information from previous IEPs, research based information and strategies provided by the parents, a letter from an outside psychologist, and classroom observations to develop the IEP. The IEP team revised the IEP to include additional positive behavior support and interventions such as positive reinforcement for goal setting and accomplishing goals, participation in whole class relaxation techniques, a chair which allows movement, preferential seating in the back of the room for movement, opportunities for small group lunch with peers, and alternative format for work completion. The IEP team developed additional annual goals that included organization and on-task behavior, and added school counseling for 15 minutes per week to address appropriate social interactions. The district properly developed an IEP to address the student’s behavioral needs.

The IEPs in effect for the 2013-14 school year were implemented as written. The IEP team developed six categories for the daily goal development to be completed at home and then reviewed by district staff. The district staff and parent selected a rocking chair for movement. The district provides the student with daily movement breaks. The student also receives additional snacks upon request at a separate location from the classroom, as required by the IEP. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 12/18/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support