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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."

RAISE Article Details

Title: Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution procedures in special education. Final report.
Publication Date: 1996
Authors: Schrag, J. A.
Source: National Association of State Directors of Special Education
Abstract: This report discusses the use of mediation and alternative dispute resolution approaches in special education disagreements between the school and the parents of a child with a disability. The procedural safeguards and due process provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are explained. The report notes alternative dispute resolution practices, such as negotiation, mock or mini-trials, due process hearings, and litigation. The components and procedures of mediation, and the growth in the use of mediation are discussed. Trends and variations in mediation strategies are provided, including descriptions of the single mediator model, co-mediator model, and panel mediator model. Benefits of each model are discussed. Other informal and formal alternative dispute resolution strategies that are being used in special education are reviewed, including individual strategies (ombudsperson or advocates) and group strategies (impartial reviews, pre-hearing conferences, advisory opinion process, and neutral conferences). The report also identifies locally based conflict resolution options, including: parent/professional partnerships, peer mediation programs, and staff development/training in conflict resolution. The report concludes by discussing the "lessons learned" from state and local educational agencies, and by indicating a need for ongoing evaluation information regarding the short- and long-term impact of mediation. (ERIC)
Categories: Policy & Practice
Due Process Hearings

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