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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: Exceptionality and Parent-Professional Conflict: Causes, Prevention, and Resolution
Publication Date: 2009
Authors: Fisher, Ann-Claire
Source: Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona
Abstract: [abstract] "A large number of due process hearings regarding the delivery of special education services to children with disabilities occur nationally and the number is increasing. Differences of opinion between professionals and parents concerning whether or not a child is disabled, the diagnosis of a disability, and the special services recommended or provided has resulted in parent-professional conflict accompanied by substantial financial and emotional costs to parents, professionals and educational agencies. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the origins and dynamics of parent-professional conflict about special education services and identify promising approaches and strategies for preventing and resolving conflict between professionals and parents of children with disabilities. A comprehensive literature review revealed the major origins of conflict about special education services in the schools. These include (a) legislative mandates; (b) attrition of special education personnel; (c) ineffective leadership in the schools; (d) lack of collaboration between general and special educators and parents; and (e) hidden constraints in educational agencies such as time, money, and resources. The combination of “systemic cracks” in the nation’s educational system and the failure of professionals and parents to use effective “communication and collaboration skills” were found to be the major sources of conflict between professionals and parents. Five promising approaches and strategies were identified for preventing or resolving conflicts about special education."
Categories: Research - Qualitative
Theory/Sources of Conflict

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