Faciliated IEP Meeting

Parents have many options when attempting to resolve a disagreement with their child’s school. One informal dispute resolution option that parent’s have is a facilitated IEP.  IEP facilitation is not mentioned in IDEA and is not mentioned in the procedural safeguards, but it is an approach that is being used more often to help IEP Teams reach agreements in special education decision-making.

A facilitated IEP meeting is a meeting that includes an impartial facilitator. The facilitator is not a member of the decision making team, but is there to help keep the team focused on developing the student’s program while addressing conflicts as they arise.

The goal of the facilitator is to help promote communication among IEP team members and work toward resolving differences of opinion that may occur concerning the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child. The facilitator helps keep the IEP team on task and helps capture and document agreements. The facilitator does not participate in the decision making process concerning the content of the student’s IEP.

An IEP facilitator can help support the full participation of all team members. The facilitator does not make decisions for the group, they simply clarify points of agreement and disagreement and can model effective communication and listening skills for the team members. When disagreements do occur, the facilitator can help encourage team members to identify new options. Most importantly, the facilitator will ensure that the meeting remains focused on the student.

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