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ERIC Number: EJ842565
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0040-0599
IEP Facilitation: A Promising Approach to Resolving Conflicts between Families and Schools
Mueller, Tracy G.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v41 n3 p60-67 Jan-Feb 2009
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. One hallmark of IDEA is the promotion of collaboration between school districts and parents of children with disabilities. The letter and spirit of IDEA encourages a working relationship between the home and school that fosters an educational team with the goal of providing the child with appropriate services. IDEA provisions regarding parent involvement imply a picture of the family and school team working together amicably sharing visions and goals, and ultimately making decisions collectively. Unfortunately, this scenario is not always the outcome. IDEA procedures for conflict do not take into consideration the potential of future disputes. Consequently, researchers are beginning to recognize the need for more appropriate dispute resolution procedures that can empower both parties (i.e., parents and school districts), to more effectively resolve their disputes together. Contrary to due process procedures, many alternative dispute resolution strategies provide both parties with opportunities to resolve the issues and to come to a collaborative agreement. One of the more promising alternative dispute resolution strategies is the use of facilitated individualized education program (IEP) meetings. Facilitated IEPs utilize an outside facilitator to assist with the overall organization of and conduct at the IEP meeting. The meeting is still run by the parents and school officials; however, a facilitator objectively maintains order and focus during the meeting. This model includes a flexible alternative to mediation that can provide parents and school officials with the opportunity to address concerns immediately at an IEP meeting without having to go through formal procedures. Facilitated IEPs are provided at no cost to the family and are less formal than mediation, due process, or resolution sessions. Because there are currently no federal regulations for this process, the educational team must still abide by IDEA regulations for IEP procedures. This article presents one of the more successful IEP facilitation models that has been used and supported through research. A case study of conflict is presented, along with the seven essential components of IEP facilitation. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
Council for Exceptional Children. 1110 North Glebe Road Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201. Tel: 888-232-7733; Fax: 703-264-9494; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act