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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."

CADRE Resources


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This document does not offer formal policy guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education.

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IEP Facilitation - South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Education, Office of Exceptional Children (OEC), has partnered with the State’s Parent Training and Information Center, PRO-Parents, to develop a Facilitated Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting Pilot Project. IEP facilitation is a voluntary early dispute resolution option available to parents of children with disabilities and school districts/agencies when both parties agree it would be valuable to have a neutral person-the IEP facilitator-present at an IEP meeting to assist with the IEP process. Most IEP meetings do not need the services of an IEP facilitator. Generally, an IEP facilitator is requested when parents and school district/agency personnel are experiencing difficulties communicating and reaching agreement about a student’s needs. IEP facilitation may be used for any IEP team meeting, including the initial, annual, or reevaluation process.

Settings & Use
    Practice Setting(s): Available in 21 school districts.
Has It Been Replicated?: See other states that offer IEP facilitation services.
Annual Use: 6 IEP facilitation requests were made from August ‘08- June ‘09. 5 IEP facilitated meetings were held with 1 request withdrawn. All 5 reached consensus. 4 implemented IEP, 1 proceeded to the complaint process. Year 2: Total of 16 facilitation requests 14 Facilitated IEP meetings held 1 Request was withdrawn 1 Request resulted in the parties agreeing to defer the scheduling of the facilitated IEP meeting until the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year Consensus was reached at 12 of the 14 facilitated IEP meetings Year 3: Total of 23 facilitation requests 15 Facilitated IEP meetings held 8 Request withdrawn for various reasons Consensus was reached at 10 of the 15 facilitated IEP meetings

Resources Involved
    Personnel: A majority of the facilitators are parent trainers from PRO-Parents.

Time: A facilitated IEP meeting may take longer than a typical IEP meeting but the scheduled time should not exceed three (3) hours. A facilitated IEP meeting can always be reconvened if consensus is not reached at the first meeting with approval of the parties and OEC’s facilitation coordinator.


Cost
    System(annual): All costs are covered by a grant awarded to PRO-Parents by the OEC.


Process Steps
    Individuals interested in IEP facilitation should submit the completed and signed request form to the OEC at least ten (10) days prior to the proposed IEP meeting date. The OEC facilitation coordinator will make every attempt to locate a facilitator who is available for the proposed time frame. If a facilitator is not available on this date, however, the IEP team may need to reschedule the date of the meeting or proceed without the facilitator. A facilitated IEP meeting will not be scheduled if the facilitation coordinator determines that the issues identified by the parties are not related to the student’s IEP or otherwise determines that facilitation is not an appropriate resolution option. In such cases, the facilitation coordinator will work with the parties to identify other resolution options. Once a facilitator is assigned and the date/time confirmed, the school district/agency will fax a copy of the student’s IEP to the OEC’s facilitation coordinator. The facilitation coordinator will contact the facilitator and provide the facilitator with the student’s IEP. The facilitator will then contact both parties to determine concerns and desired outcomes and to develop the agenda for the meeting based on input from the parties. The Office of Exceptional Children’s IEP facilitation coordinator will work with the parties to assign a facilitator after both parties have agreed to a facilitated IEP meeting. Parents (including guardians and surrogate parents) of a child with a disability, adult students with a disability (18 years or older), or special education directors/coordinators can request IEP facilitation. If only one party requests facilitation, the OEC’s IEP facilitation coordinator will contact the other party to ask for consent to the facilitation and talk about the benefits of facilitation and how the process works. Attendance at a facilitated IEP meeting is the same as any other IEP meeting. The required members of the IEP team attend the meeting, in addition to the facilitator. As with non-facilitated IEP meetings, parents and adult students have the option to invite an advocate or other people who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. IEP Facilitation is free to all participants.

Education, Training, Skills & Experience
    Facilitators have received training in conflict resolution and have knowledge about the special education process.

Research, Literature and Experience
    44 participants completed feedback survey- 6 parents, 38 LEA/school representatives 100% reported they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts 98% reported they felt the facilitator kept the team focused and the meeting moving forward 94% reported they felt their rights and the rights of others were protected 93% reported they felt they contributed to writing the IEP 94% reported they felt everyone shared responsibilities and played a role in the meeting 96% reported the meeting was organized, efficient, and productive 100% reported they felt their rights and the rights of others were protected 95% reported they felt the meeting was organized, efficient, and productive 100% reported they felt they contributed to writing the IEP 100% reported they felt everyone shared responsibilities and played a role in the meeting Year 2: 93% reported they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts 96% reported they felt the facilitator kept the team focused and the meeting moving forward (77) participants responded to the feedback survey: (10) parents (2) grandparents (1) student (5) advocates (58) LEA/school reps (1) personal care assistant

Practice Author
    Office of General Counsel, Dept. of Ed.
Barbara Drayton
Office of General Counsel, Dept. of Ed.
Rutledge Building Room 1015, 1429 Senate St.
Columbia, SC 29201
bdrayton@ed.sc.gov
ed.sc.gov/agency/programs-services/173/DisputeResolutionInformation.cfm

Practice Continuum Placement
Relative to other practices in the CADRE Continuum, how might the above practice be comparatively considered from several vantage points? Placement of a practice on the continua that follow is approximate and subjective. For example, how "easy" or "hard" any practice is to implement would depend on the interplay of many (i.e., procedural, political, personal, systemic, resource, etc.) variables.
easy to implement hard to implement
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) - - -
limited cooperation needed significant cooperation needed
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) - - -
least cost highest cost
1 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) - - -
immediate benefit future benefit
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) - - -
most effective least effective
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) - - -
most satisfactory least satisfactory
1 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) - - -
time efficient time consuming
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) - - -
limited training needed significant training needed
- - 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) - -