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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."

Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions

CADRE and The Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers

This video, Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions, was developed jointly by the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers (the Alliance) and CADRE in November 2002. More information on IDEA 2004.

Please find a transcript below.

 

 

Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions

CADRE/ALLIANCE Mediation Video Script

VIDEO

AUDIO

GRAPHIC

 

The following video is intended to introduce viewers to special education mediation. It is meant to be a general introduction and is not intended to interpret federal or state law. It is hoped that the viewer will get an improved understanding of the mediation process and the role of the mediator. Benefits and limitations of the mediation process are reviewed. Sources of additional information are provided at the end of the video.

#1 - Video Title: Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions

MONTAGE OF DIVERSE PEOPLE

Variety of people, representing various racial, ethnic, cultural, age, disability backgrounds.

What is mediation?

Mediation is finding a solution through cooperation.

Mediation is finding a solution by participation.

It's finding a solution through communication.

…by taking action.

Finding a solution…that's mediation.

 
 

It sounds like a great way to solve problems….and it is. Mediation is really just a process--a powerful, effective process to create an agreement that will resolve differences and create a better relationship between people having a dispute.

A neutral person called the mediator manages this process, and it's her job to help parents, educators, and service providers communicate more effectively with each other and then develop a written document that contains the details of their agreement.

#2 - (MONTAGE OF UPCOMING PROCESS)

PARENTS, 2 SHOT

(F) For us as parents, mediation had a lot of benefits. It was easy to arrange and in our case took less than a day to complete and was free.

 

MALE PARENT

We felt the mediator did a good job of being fair and not taking sides. Each of us had a chance to say what was on our mind.

 

FEMALE PARENT

We were able to say what was on our minds; they were able to say what they were thinking. We talked about some new options and alternatives, and together we came up with a solution.

 

MALE PARENT

We avoided having to go to a due process hearing, and best of all, we finally have a solution we all agree on, and that's what's best for our son.

 

MEDIATOR MS

Following my initial training, I have mediated for almost five years. I believe in mediation because 85% of the time it results in a written agreement.

 
MEDIATOR MS

I help them to look at points of agreement and disagreement, help identify different options, and when we're ready I assist with writing down the terms of the new agreement.

 

PARENTS 2 SHOT

(M) It's like I said before, we have an agreement that we can all work with, and that's what's best for our child.

 
 

(VO) The Benefits of Mediation

Parents and educators jointly develop the final agreement rather than an outside individual.

Parents and educators work together, and they are in control of the outcome.

Mutual agreements result in greater satisfaction for everyone involved.

Mediation assists everyone to better understand differing points of view.

Mediation may be less costly and disagreements are resolved more quickly than traditional legalistic procedures.

Written agreements resulting from mutual resolution are more likely to be kept.

#3 - THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION

(a-f)

  1. Parents and educators jointly develop the final agreement rather than an outside individual.
  2. Parents and educators work together, and they are in control of the outcome.
  3. Mutual agreements result in greater satisfaction for everyone involved.
  4. Mediation assists everyone to better understand differing points of view.
  5. Mediation may be less costly and disagreements are resolved more quickly than traditional legalistic procedures.
  6. Written agreements resulting from mutual resolution are more likely to be kept.
 

These are some potential concerns about mediation that you should be aware of:

Mediation can sometimes be an emotional, tiring, and frustrating process.

Parents and family members may feel at a disadvantage if they don't adequately prepare.

Some complex situations might need multiple mediation sessions in order to create a clear and detailed agreement.

There are no guarantees that mediation will lead to a written agreement.

#4 - POTENTIAL CONCERNS ABOUT MEDIATION

(a-e)

  1. Mediation can sometimes be an emotional, tiring, and frustrating process.
  2. Parents and family members may feel at a disadvantage if they don't adequately prepare.
  3. Some complex situations might need multiple mediation sessions in order to create a clear and detailed agreement.
  4. There are no guarantees that mediation will lead to a written agreement.

MS MEDIATOR

Now that we've all been introduced let me talk about some of the basic ground rules. Only one person is going to speak at a time and everything that is said here will be kept confidential. I'm going to ask that everyone be respectful when they talk to each other…

 
 

(VO) Then the participants were asked to each give their opening remarks.

#5 - OPENING REMARKS

(will crawl across the bottom of the screen – while action is taking place)

F PARENT READS REMARKS

We are here because we have not been able to agree with the school about our son Dan's IEP and his services. Dan has a learning disability in reading and writing as well as attention deficit disorder…

(VO) When John and Kathy were done, the School District representatives, Jane and Don, gave their opening remarks.

 

SCHOOL DIST REP

We have some real differences of opinion about Dan's needs and which services he should receive. While we agreed to come here, I don't hold out much hope for an agreement, but we're willing to talk. (Resigned rather than attacking tone)

(VO) After the family and school shared their initial concerns, some time was spent identifying the topics for discussion.

#6 – Choosing the Topics (crawl across bottom of the screen)

 

MALE PARENT

We want the school to pay for Dan's tutoring.

FEMALE PARENT

And, we need better communication with Dan's teachers.

 

SCHOOL REP #1

There are limitations to what we can do for each and every student on an individual basis.

 

SCHOOL REP #2

We can't just pay for private tutoring whenever a family hires someone?

 

MEDIATOR

It's important that all of us are open to new alternatives. We have to also be realistic about how we can implement new solutions and the kind of agreement that we can reach. Keeping that in mind, let's come up with some options and see what people think about them.

#7 – Solutions and Options (crawl across bottom of the screen)

SR1

It might be possible to…(Rolling audio cross-fades)

 

MALE PARENT

The only problem is that the school isn't providing the kind of individual attention Dan needs.

 

FEMALE PARENT

What if we tried meeting with his teachers before the school year begins to ensure they are familiar with Dan?

 

SR2

That might work, especially if we have regular evaluations to review with the teachers.

 

MALE PARENT

What about the whole issue of paying for the testing and tutoring we found for him?

 

SR1 That's going to be very difficult. We can't pay for services that we weren't involved in contracting for.  

SR2

What would you think about paying for additional help beyond what we can provide?

 

WS, MEDIATOR

SR 1 & 2 LEAVE ROOM

Perhaps, we need to take a minute to discuss this privately.

 
 

(VO) A caucus is a separate meeting called by the mediator. It is a chance to privately discuss or develop a response, to figure out how to proceed or even to let out emotions in private. The mediator will meet separately with both the family and the school.

#8 - THE CAUCUS

*Separate Meeting

*Opportunity to Privately Discuss Topics

*Mediator meets separately with both parties

WS OF COUPLE & MEDIATOR ALONE

 

 

SR 1 & 2 SITTING DOWN AT TABLE

(VO) When everyone returned to the room, the family and school continued working together.

 

MEDIATOR

(Parents nod approvingly)

I think we're at the point now where we can start to identify options that might be acceptable to everyone. John and Kathy, you said that if Dan's teachers met with you before each school year and carefully read and reviewed his evaluations and IEP you wouldn't expect the school to repay you for the testing and tutoring you've had done. Would that be an acceptable first point in our agreement?

Jane and Don, you said the school would provide a reading specialist to meet with Dan every day….

 
 

(VO) Once the parties came up with acceptable solutions and addressed potential barriers to implementation, the mediation reaches its final stage -- the creation of a written agreement.

#9 - Written Agreement (Crawl across the bottom)

MEDIATOR

Then let's put this in writing. We'll decide who is responsible for carrying out each item, and we'll assign a timeline to the process. When we're sure it's complete we'll all sign the agreement and each of you will leave with a copy.

 

PARTIES SIGNING

(VO) Successfully writing up the agreement brought the formal mediation process to a close.

 

WS PARTIES SHAKING HANDS

BRIDGE MUSIC

 
 

(VO) Now that we have some idea of what mediation is and how it works, let's answer some of the common questions that people often have.

#10 - (Would be a summarization of the main points, this time words may crawl back from opposite direction in bullet like fashion)

Voice Over Here?

No. The mediator doesn't make decisions. Their job is to structure the process and help the people at the mediation communicate with each other.

#11 - DOES THE MEDIATOR MAKE DECISIONS?

EXPERT ON SCREEN

   
 

The state bears the cost of paying for the mediation process required under IDEA when the mediation follows a request for a due process hearing. Some states and school districts may provide mediation at no cost prior to a request for a due process hearing.

#12 - WHO PAYS FOR MEDIATION?

 

All parties sign a form outlining the terms of the agreement to show their commitment to the agreement. People tend to follow the terms of mediation agreements because they were part of developing them.

#13 - HOW WILL I KNOW THE SCHOOL WILL FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE AGREEMENT TERMS?

  For the process to be manageable, participants should be limited to those individuals who are necessary to develop and carry out an agreement. The parties often agree beforehand on who will attend the session and may request a limit on the number of people who will be there.

#15 - WHO WILL ATTEND THE MEDIATION?

 

Yes. Only the parties involved in the meeting will know what was said and discussions may not be shared outside the group. The things said during mediation cannot be used in any future due process hearing or court proceeding.

#16 - ARE MEDIATIONS CONFIDENTIAL?

 

Mediation can be used to help solve all kinds of different disputes, things like problems with an IEP or an IFSP….

#17 - MEDIATION MIGHT BE USED FOR DISAGREEMENTS RELATED TO:

17a. Identification

17b. Evaluation

17c. Educational Placement

17d. Provision of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

(34 CFR § 300.503(a)(1) and 34 CFR § 300.506)

(This would be the overarching graphic, subsequently there would be a Graphic 17a through 17d)

 

…It can be used to identify special needs and services. It may be helpful when a student has been expelled or suspended. It can be used with transportation and transition issues, or with concerns related to program content and location.

 

BACK TO EXPERT

…Mediation can really help with a whole range of matters. If you think it might be right for your situation, you should definitely ask. Again, some of the benefits of mediation include: (See graphics 3a – 3f for wording.)

 
  Each state will have its own guidelines for requesting mediation. For more information, contact your parent center or state department of education.

 

#18 - HOW DO WE REQUEST MEDIATION?

  We hope that this videotape has given you an understanding of what mediation is and why it can be a fair and effective way of resolving conflicts. Cooperation, participation, communication and commitment are all part of finding a solution through mediation.

 

#19 - (This is a summary piece from beginning of the process.)

   

CREDITS OVER PIP OF PARENT(S), MATCH #S

MALE

Parents and educators work together and they are in control of the final decision.

 

 

FEMALE

Disagreements may be resolved more quickly than if you use a due process hearing.

 

 

MALE

Everyone has a better understanding of the different points of view.

 

 

FEMALE

Written agreements that form these kinds of co-operative processes result in high rates of compliance--everyone comes away more satisfied!

 

 
  For more information about special education mediation in your state, contact your parent training and information center, state or local education agency, or CADRE, the National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education. FOR MORE INFORMATION about special education mediation in your state, contact your parent training and information center, state or local education agency, or CADRE, the National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education

 

For more information about best practices and a current list of parent training and information centers and community parent resource centers in the nation, contact the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers (ALLIANCE) at 1 888-248-0822 or visit their website www.taalliance.org (Voice over would accompany this information as it is shown)

The Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) serves as the national technical assistance center on dispute resolution. You can call (541) 686-5060 or visit their website at www.directionservice.org/cadre

The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) responds to parent requests for assistance. Call NICHCY toll-free at 1-800 -695-0285. (Voice over would accompany this information as it is shown)

Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions is a resource developed jointly by the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers (the Alliance) and the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE). This video was developed pursuant to cooperative agreement CFDA H326D98002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education.

The Alliance and CADRE would like to thank Project Officer, Peggy Cvach, for her advice and support with this project.

~END~

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