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ERIC Number: ED555844
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
In the Best Interests of the Child: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings When Parents Are in Conflict
Feinberg, Edward; Moses, Philip; Engiles, Anita; Whitehorne, Amy; Peter, Marshall
Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)
Individual Education Program (IEP) teams are composed of diverse individuals, each bringing a unique set of experiences, knowledge, and skills to the table. Given this, it is not uncommon for team members to have different views on the special education and related services needs of the student whose plan is being developed. When divergent views between families and local educational agency (LEA) staff cause deadlock in the IEP process, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes available a continuum of dispute resolution options. These options range from collaborative approaches, e.g., mediation, to more adversarial ones, such as written State complaints and due process hearing requests. These processes focus primarily on anticipated dissension across the table between families and educators. IDEA does not address instances when the child's parents are disputing with each other. What happens when tensions between the child's parents undermine the IEP process? The purpose of this publication is twofold: (1) to assist the reader in better understanding the problem; and (2) to highlight both preventative and responsive strategies for IEP teams when parents or caregivers are having difficulty working together. Children's best interests are served when all members of the IEP team cooperate to design the IEP. Properly prepared and appropriately skilled IEP team members--administrators, educators, related service providers, the student, and parents alike--can improve the dynamics and interactions among team members in service of this goal. The information, strategies, and approaches presented herein were drawn from a variety of sources, including research on the effects of parenting a child with a disability on parent and family relationships, literature on conflict resolution practices, and data collected through surveys and interviews with a cross-section of IDEA stakeholders from around the United States. The following are appended: (1) Parental Conflict and Special Education Decision Making Survey; (2) Individuals Interviewed; (3) Contending with Family Conflicts in Part C of IDEA; (4) LEA Self-Assessment--Suggested Steps; (5) CADRE Publications; (6) Consensus Development Conference; (7) Checklist for IEP Meeting Preparation For LEA Staff; (8) Checklist for IEP Meeting Preparation For Family Members; (9) Checklist for IEP Meeting Preparation For Advocates & Attorneys; (10) Checklist for IEP Meeting Preparation For Facilitators; and (11) References.
Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE). P.O. Box 51360, Eugene, OR 97405-0906. Tel: 541-686-5060; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS)
Authoring Institution: Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: H326D080001