Helping Parents and
Educators Create Solutions that Improve Results for
Students with Disabilities
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a highly flexible way to resolve disagreements between school or early intervention (EI) systems and parents of children with disabilities. A neutral person, called a mediator, helps parents, educators and service providers to communicate more effectively and develop a written document that contains the details of their agreement.
Participation in mediation is completely voluntary; parents only have to
participate if they choose to. The mediation process is also confidential; discussions cannot be used in any future due process hearing or court proceeding.
Why Consider Mediation?
Mediation has many benefits for parents, educators and service providers,
What are the Drawbacks of Using Mediation?
Mediation may have a few drawbacks or limitations worth noting. For example, some states have policies that do not allow attorneys to participate in a mediation session. Without an attorney present, some parents might feel uncomfortable speaking directly to administrators who they have had difficulty communicating with in the past.
Additionally, while mediation agreements are typically implemented with a high degree of satisfaction and attention to details, there is always a chance that families may choose to file for due process if mediation does not achieve the desired result.
How Can I Best Find a Mediator?
If you have requested a due process hearing and are participating in
mediation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997, your state education or EI lead agency will provide a qualified and impartial mediator for you. Additional information about this type of mediation may be found atwww.directionservice.org/cadre/indexidea.cfm. In some situations, parents, schools and service providers may have the opportunity to select their own mediator(s), rather than have one assigned to them. CADRE offers a Database of Conflict Resolution and Special Education Professionals at www.directionservice.org/cadre/profs.
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