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Decision Number
Ruffin W.
Mary Jane W.
Allamakee Community School District & Keystone AEA 1
Full Text

Ruffin was a 5-year-old boy living with his mother in the District. He was originally referred to the AEA in July 1994. The IEP of August 1994 listed goals of increased social interactions with peers and other adults, increased use of functional and imaginative play and increased expressive language skills. Ruffin was to be in the ECSE class 5 days per week with 30 minutes per week in the library with kindergartners for participation in regular education. In October 1995, Team Impressions listed "pervasive developmental disorder; specific language disorders; cotninue to monitor Asperger's syndrome." The IEP meeting in December 1994 indicated that Ruffin had greatly increased social interaction and his language skills. His needs were identified as increasing his ability to answer comprehension questions, take turns, and improve language skills.

In August 1995 a pre-appeal mediation conference resulted in a completed IEP. Ruffins' needs included comprehension of time, counting skills, following complex directions and language skills. Mother's comments included having an adult present seems to be essential; waits patiently, reads books by telling story shown by the pictures; labels all primary emotions; names 10 colors and can count to 8; and knows all upper case letters. In January 1995, Ruffin was evaluated at the University of Iowa's Child Psychiatry Services. Several recommendations listed included focusing on preschool readiness curriculum and to expose him to and integrate him with more non-handicapped preschoolers. The March 1995 IEP meeting had several points of disagreement. In August 1995, Ruffin was seen again at the University of Iowa. The report highlighted the need for social communication opportunities. In January 1996, a Program Update identified 4 general areas of "current weakness" for Ruffin. 1) Following general directions within group; recommended that he joint kindergartners in PE 2-3 times per week; 2) recalling specific information from the past; recommended a pocket calendar; 3) theory of mind drills involving child in inferring about what others may be things; and 4) getting him to ask questions.

The Waukon Nursery School teacher completed a report in January 1996 indicating Ruffin was ready for kindergarten in the fall. The EYSE IEP meeting was held in March 1996. On April 8, 1996, Appellant was provided with a copy of Ruffin's EYSE IEP addendum. The team recommended 11 hours/week of 1-on-1 drills.

Appellant asserts that the EYSE program denies Ruffin FAPE beacause it was not prepared in procedural compliance with the notice and related requirements of the IDEA. It is clear from the record and testimony that EYSE was an ongoing and established concern for Appellant. The LEA/AEA had a duty to provide Appellant with appropriate notice, notwithstanding the numerous opportunities to respond to Appellant's requests for such information. These were not mere "technical" erros, but procedural inadequacies that "seriously hampered the parent's opportunity to participate in the formulation process.

Appellant prevailed on the significant issues concerning Ruffin's EYSE. The EYSE program offered by the District denied Ruffin a FAPE beacaue it was prepared in procedural complaince. Specifically, the LEA/AEA failed to provide Appellant with adequate notice which seriously hampered her opportunity to participate in the formulation of the EYSE IEP; and the IEP team failed to consider vital information concerning Ruffin's needs.

The IEP team was ordered to modify Ruffin's EYSE and make arrangements for the provision of instructional service for the socialization goal.