IDEA Complaint Decision 02-056

On October 8, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kenosha School District involving the Wisconsin School for the Deaf (WSD). This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the WSD, between November 2001 and October 2002, failed to:

  • implement the individualized education program (IEP) of a child with a disability regarding the use of a quiet room, sensory breaks and a sensory choice book.

On October 2, 2001, a meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP and to determine placement. Additional IEP team meetings were held on November 5, 2001, and June 5, 2002, to review and revise the IEP. The child's IEP stated she would receive the use of a quiet room and a sensory choice book. Specifically, the IEP indicated the "quiet room with sensory ball and door open will be used for the purpose of safety of self or others and monitored for a maximum of three minutes, with processing time before and after." The IEP also states that the child will receive sensory breaks (with sensory items), four times per day in unstructured nonacademic settings.

The parent alleges the WSD staff did not consistently provide a quiet room with a sensory ball and open door used for the purpose of her child's safety to self or others, and monitored for a maximum of three minutes as required by her child's IEP. The parent indicated the WSD staff informed her both verbally and in writing that her child received time in the quiet room for reasons other than stated on the IEP, and that the time limit had exceeded three minutes on four occasions. The WSD principal informed the department that on September 12, 2002, the parent first raised concern that the quiet room was being used in response to behaviors not involving safety, and that the staff were exceeding the three minute time limit. The principal and case manager spoke with the parent on several occasions to assure her that the staff only used the quiet room for aggressive behaviors or when the child would voluntarily choose to enter the room. On October 21, 2002, the IEP team met to review and revise the IEP and to address the parent's concern about the quiet room. The IEP team decided the use of the quiet room would be eliminated except when the child voluntarily chose to use the room. The department concludes that the WSD took measures to resolve this issue.

The parent also contends that the sensory breaks were not consistently provided four times per day in unstructured settings as required by the child's IEP. The WSD principal provided the department with a copy of the child's daily schedules for the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 school years. The child's schedule and statements from the principal and teacher revealed that the sensory breaks were regularly provided throughout the school day four times per day. The principal also noted that because the child's sensory needs changed significantly at the onset of this school year, the staff increased the sensory sessions to seven times per day with the parent in agreement. The department concludes that the WSD provided the child with the sensory breaks as required by the IEP.

The parent also contends that the WSD staff did not provide her child with a sensory choice book between November 2001 and September 2002 as required by the IEP. The principal stated that during this time, the staff presented the child with actual sensory items rather than a pictorial representation of the item in order to make a choice to use and/or play with the item. At the beginning of this school year, the parent expressed concern that a sensory choice book was not being used. The staff developed a sensory choice book for use in October, 2002, approximately one year after it was written into the child's IEP. The first sensory choice book was misplaced and a second one was developed for use at the school. The department concludes that while the WSD did not implement the specific intervention as required by the IEP, the staff took the appropriate measures to correct its action. As a corrective action, the department will provide technical support and direction to WSD administrative and special education staff to ensure that staff provide special education and related services required in student's IEPs.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

signed CST 12/9/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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