IDEA Complaint Decision 02-066

On December 9, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Lena Public School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district implemented the student's individualized education program (IEP) with regard to interaction with peers, inclusion in regular education, orientation and mobility, and Braille services.

The parent alleges that the district did not implement the student's IEPs over the past three school years. Specifically, the parent maintains that the district did not provide an opportunity for the student to be in regular classes with his peers, did not provide a teacher in the area of orientation and mobility, and that Braille equipment was not available for his regular use except through the vision teacher.

A review of all five IEPs from the time period of the complaint indicates that each contained a schedule with steadily increasing opportunities for inclusion in regular education ranging from two class periods in 2000-01 to five class periods in 2002-03. Written reports provided to the department from regular education teachers and the orientation and mobility teacher noted the student's interactions with both staff and peers in these settings and this is an area of strength for the student.

The amounts of Braille services provided on the program summary sheets for each IEP reviewed increased from consultative services to direct services provided over the length of the complaint period. At the last IEP review in October 2002, direct services from the vision teacher increased from two to three times per week. Other goal areas also reference the use of Braille equipment. Goals involving the use of Braille were implemented directly by the vision teacher as well as by an aide under the supervision of the vision teacher.

Based upon the student's IEPs, teacher statements, and written information from the district special education director documenting the services provided by the district, the department concludes that the district implemented the student's IEPs for three years with regard to interaction with peers, inclusion in regular education, and Braille services.

IEPs reviewed for the three school years indicated orientation and mobility as a related service. In two of the years, a certified orientation and mobility specialist was not available and these services were not provided. During this time period the district attempted to provide for orientation and mobility services, although not by qualified staff. In the summer of 2002, the district contracted for the services of an orientation and mobility specialist. The orientation and mobility specialist worked with the student directly as required in the IEP, as did other district staff, to implement the program and strategies daily. Because the student is no longer a resident of the district, no child-specific corrective action is required. Within thirty days of receiving this decision, the district will provide the department with a corrective action plan to ensure that orientation and mobility services are provided by qualified staff.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 2/6/03 by SP
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tg
For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720