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The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education

"Encouraging the use of mediation and other collaborative strategies to resolve disagreements about special
education and early intervention programs."

Process Definition

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Early Dispute Assistance     
       Parent-to-Parent Assistance
This process recognizes that parents are a valuable source of assistance to other parents. There are many different approaches to offering a parent-to-parent assistance program, including strategies that emphasize parent-professional collaboration, dispute prevention, and conflict resolution. Some of these innovative practices occur at the regional service area, or district level, and others are state-wide. Some programs train parents of children with disabilities to support other family members through information, technical assistance and referral activities, while other programs train parents to accompany family members to IEP meetings or mediation. State-sponsored practices typically involve employment of a parent to serve as a resource person, liaison between family and school, neutral facilitator or ombudsperson.