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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."

Preparing for Dispute Resolution Processes

In the Best Interests of the Child: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings When Parent Are In Conflict

This publication was developed to better understand the problem of parents or caregivers having difficulty working together, especially during IEP team meetings.

Making Mediation Sessions Accessible To People With Disabilities

Mediators have recently become aware of the need to make these mediation sessions accessible to people with disabilities. This development is largely due to disputes that have arisen as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, all mediation sessions involving people with disabilities need to be accessible, not only ADA mediation sessions.

Perspectives of Participants in Special Education Mediation: A Qualitative Inquiry

CADRE undertook a qualitative inquiry of special education mediations in two states. In this exploratory research, CADRE's goal was to gain access to, examine, and compare the perspectives of parents, school personnel and mediators on several dimensions of the mediation experience. A CADRE publication.

Understanding Positions and Interests

Differentiating between "positions" and "interests" is an essential component of collaborative problem solving. This short video from CADRE introduces the differences between positions and interests and provides specific examples.

Mediators Negotiate and Negotiators Mediate

This article and accompanying sidebar are from the Spring '04 newsletter for VCASE, the Virginia Council of Administrator's of Special Education. They highlight Virginia's Special Education Mediation Services as well as considerations for administrators when mediating and negotiating with parents.

Mediating at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings

The Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings provides special education mediation services to the State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services. This brief article spotlights the service and its recent success. For FY 2003, the office received 425 special education mediation requests. 298 cases went to mediation and 193 of those settled for an agreement rate of 65%.

Las Familias y las Escuelas: Resolviendo las Disputas através de la Mediación

Han surgido muchas preguntas sobre qué es exactamente la mediación y cómo se lleva a cabo. Esta publicación ha sido desarrollada por el Consorcio para la Resolución Apropiada de Disputas en la Educación Especial (CADRE) para responder a las preguntas que tantos padres, profesores, administradores y muchas otras personas tienen acerca de la mediación. A través de la presentación de casos de la vida real, el lector comprenderá mejor el proceso de la mediación y su flexibilidad inherente. Este Documento fue publicado en Diciembre 2003. Mas informacion sobre IDEA 2004. View this document in English.

The Involvement of Students in Their Special Education Mediations

This paper explores benefits, challenges and strategies related to the involvement of students in the special education mediation process. A CADRE Publication . This document was published in September 2003. More information on IDEA 2004.

Mediation: Through The Eyes Of The Mediator

The core value in mediation is that the process provides the parties with an opportunity to negotiate, converse and explore options aided by a neutral third party, the mediator, to exhaustively determine if a settlement is possible. It is a process of empowerment of the parties to control their destiny in their dispute.

ADA Mediation Guidelines: An Ongoing Endeavor

ADA Guidelines were issued in February 2000. As the Work Group intended, a collaborative process has continued in the intervening years. This article highlights some of the resulting developments.

Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions

This video, Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions, was developed in 2002 by the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers (the Alliance) and CADRE.

Considerations for Mediating with People Who Are Culturally Deaf

Historically, mediation has not been an effective venue for dispute resolution for Deaf people because of linguistic inaccessibility and cultural non-recognition. Like other linguistic minority groups who experience and resolve conflict in a manner consistent with their social and communicative norms Deaf people have some unique perspectives. The following article illuminates some of these perspectives and explains how mediators can address these differences when working with Deaf people, in order to make mediation a more linguistically and culturally respectful and responsive endeavor. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in September 2002. More information on IDEA 2004.

Considering Mediation for Special Education Disputes: A School Administrator's Perspective

This paper describes the advantages and disadvantages of mediation from an administrator's perspective in order to help other administrators make an informed decision about whether it is in the best interest of their school district, and ultimately the students they serve, for them to participate. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in September 2002. More information on IDEA 2004.

Families and Schools: Resolving Disputes through Mediation

Many questions have been raised on exactly what mediation is and how it is done. This publication has been developed by the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) in partnership with the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)to respond to some of the questions that so many parents, teachers, administrators, and others have about mediation. Through the presentation of real life stories, the reader will gain a better understanding of the mediation process and its inherent flexibility. As different as these stories are, each ends with a successfully negotiated agreement making it possible for the children involved to get the services they need and the parents and schools to work together with renewed collaboration and partnership. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in July 2002.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Mediation

This publication has been developed by the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)in partnership with the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) to respond to the host of questions that many parents, teachers, administrators, and others have about mediation. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in July 2002.

Special Education Mediation: A Guide for Parents (Hmong)

Kev xab thooj cov lus tsis sib haum hauv kev kawm ntawv tshwj xeeb yog ib phau ntawv rau cov niam txiv uas yog Qhov chaw koom txhawb tswv yim rau cov koom haum txhawb nqa niam txiv thiab qhov chaw txhim kho kom muaj kev sib kho yooj yim hauv kev kawm ntawv tshwj xeeb tau tsim los. Phau ntawv no tau tsim los raws li tau cog lus nrog qhov chaw txhawb kev kawm ntawv tshwj xeeb ntawm ceem fwv fab kev kawm ntawv, CFDA H326D98002. This document was completed in February 2002. More information on IDEA 2004.

Sound Options Mediation Brochures

Page linking to Sound Options Mediation Brochures.

The “Attorney Friendly” Mediator

One of the hottest topics in mediation currently involves the question of attorney versus non-attorney mediators. Both groups are misguided in their concerns with respect to mediation.

Dealing With Worldviews In Interpersonal Conflict

What fuels our daily experiences? Why are we so challenged by the dynamics of interpersonal relationships? Whether a CEO, a police officer, a parent, a lawyer, a news reporter, or a senator, we all face decisions on how to deal with the events of the day. The "how" is determined by our uniquely personal worldviews - the lens through which we interpret the world. Gaining an understanding of one's personal worldview - its components and mechanisms - is a potent way to expand our ability to deal with conflict.

Michigan Special Education Mediation Program Receives Positive Evaluations

Recent mediation participants completed an evaluation form that the Michigan Special Education Mediation Program (MSEMP) provides to all mediation participants. The results of these evaluations are compiled quarterly and used to assist program staff with maintaining high-quality mediation services for special education disputes. The evaluation asks several questions with short, prompted answers, as well as gives participants the opportunity to provide longer, written feedback. The article summarizes answers to key questions on evaluations received during the July 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001 time period from 66 mediation participants.

Preparing For Mediation

I have been having serious disagreements with my son's school district over his educational program and placement. I'm scheduled to go to a mediation. How might I best prepare?

The Role of Attorneys in Special Education Mediation

This paper examines the role of attorneys and to a lesser extent, advocates in special education mediation. It examines the positions held by both proponents and opponents of permitting attorneys and advocates to participate in special education mediation. It then considers the interests and concerns shared by advocates of the two opposing views. The paper concludes with practical recommendations that attempt to satisfy these common interests. This document was published in June 2001. More information on IDEA 2004.

ADR Options

There is a spectrum of dispute resolution processes, ranging from informal discussion to formal adjudication. The concept behind the development of alternative dispute resolution, or "ADR," is that the traditional adjudicatory model of dispute resolution is not always the best approach. Rather, the concept has developed that "the forum should fit the fuss," and not vice versa.

Five Steps to Choosing a Qualified Mediator

Because no easy formula can predict mediator competence, the consumer must do some groundwork before selecting a mediator. First, you must understand the mediation process. After you understand the basics, you can use the following process to choose a mediator

Sample Mediation Ground Rules

Sample Mediation Ground Rules

Considerando Mediación de Especial Educación

La mediacion es una manera flexible de resolver los desacuerdos entre la escuela o sistemas de intervención temprana ("early intervention") y los padres de niños con discapacidades. Una persona neutral, llamada un mediador, ayuda a los padres, educadores, y proveedores de servicios a comunicarse más efectivamente y a desarrollar un documento escrito que contiene los detalles de su acuerdo. Este Documento fue publicado en 1999. Mas informacion sobre IDEA 2004. View this document in English.

Considering Special Education Mediation

Mediation is a flexible way to resolve disagreements between school or early intervention (EI) systems and parents of children with disabilities. An impartial 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 voluntary and confidential. This document was published in 1999. More information on IDEA 2004.

A Tale of Two Conversations

These two videos, which were developed by the Office for Dispute Resolution in Pennsylvania, feature Dixie Trinen and Suzanne McDougall.

Keys to Access

There are a number of reasons for making mediation more accessible and responsive to families from culturally, economically and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This document is intended to provide educators with guidance that may help them understand why some families may not participate in mediation, and strategies for increasing the participation of families from diverse backgrounds. Most importantly, Keys to Access offers practical recommendations that school personnel, early intervention service providers, mediation providers, and families can use to develop the knowledge, positive attitudes, skills and strengths necessary for genuine collaboration. The results of these collaborative partnerships may be reflected in improved programs for children with disabilities. This document was published in November 1999. More information on IDEA 2004.


This new video introduces the critical skill of listening and helps viewers recognize its importance and value. Viewers will better understand the skills involved in effective listening and its role in communication and problem solving.

Benefits of Mediation

People in disputes who are considering using mediation as a way to resolve their differences often want to know what the process offers. While mediation cannot guarantee specific results, there are trends that are characteristic of mediation. This article contains a list of some of the benefits of mediation, broadly considered.

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