INTRODUCTION staff sometimes disagree about a child’s special When can parents and school districts
education and related services. A facilitated IEP request a facilitator?
As an informed and involved parent, you are meeting is an IEP meeting that includes an When the IEP team process has been difficult or
vital to the success of your child’s special impartial facilitator who promotes effective ineffective at developing an IEP acceptable to
education program. Federal laws and ND communication and who assists the IEP team in the parents and school district, either party may
regulations enable you to play an important role developing an acceptable IEP. The facilitator seek to use a facilitator. The external facilitator
in the special education process. By sharing keeps the team focused on the proper can help the team resolve conflicts that arise
what you know about your child and by helping development of the IEP while addressing during the IEP meeting.
to make decisions, you will make an important conflicts that arise. IEP Facilitation is not used
contribution to your child’s education. to resolve disputes unrelated to the IEP. How is a facilitated IEP meeting different
Sometimes, misunderstandings occur that What is the difference between an IEP facilitation should not be confused with
require third party involvement. If conflict internal facilitator and an external mediation. The purpose of a facilitated IEP
arises, you may request IEP facilitation, facilitator? meeting is to develop an acceptable IEP and
mediation, file a formal complaint, and/or Typically, a case manager or another member of involves the required IEP team members plus
request a due process hearing. Each of these the IEP team facilitates the meeting. In some the facilitator. Unlike mediation, a facilitated
options has a specific purpose for helping you instances, students may lead their own IEP IEP meeting does not require a separate IEP
with your concerns, so it is important that you meetings. These are internal facilitators. meeting to formalize the agreements that are
choose the best option for you. This brochure reached.
describes the IEP facilitation process. When IEP teams reach an impasse or meetings Mediation also differs from IEP facilitation in
are expected to be contentious, an independent that it involves a smaller, balanced number of
What steps can you take before (external) facilitator, who is not affiliated with participants and may deal with a broader range
requesting IEP facilitation or other the team or school district, may help guide the of issues unrelated to the IEP.
process. The external facilitator keeps members
conflict resolution procedures?
of the IEP team focused on the development of How long does the facilitated IEP meeting
1. Talk with the school personnel involved and
the IEP and will foster effective communication take?
let them know that you are seriously
in order to complete the development of a high A facilitated IEP meeting may take longer than a
concerned. Reasonable efforts should be
quality IEP. standard IEP meeting, but typically does not
made to resolve the problem at the school
district or public agency level. exceed four hours. A facilitated IEP meeting can
2. Make an appointment to see your director of Who are the external facilitators? always be reconvened if consensus on the IEP is
special education and/or your superintendent Facilitators are individuals with a background in not reached at the first meeting.
of schools. special education who have experience and
3. Contact a parent support group or an training in IEP development, special education How do I request an IEP Facilitator?
advocate to discuss your concerns. law, and facilitation methods. The facilitator is You may request a facilitated IEP by completing
4. Call the ND Department of Public neither an attorney nor a decision-maker but the Request for a Facilitated IEP Meeting form
Instruction for assistance. See the front of models effective communication skills and that can be downloaded from the NDDPI
this brochure for contact information. offers ways to address and resolve issues related website
to the IEP development. They are impartial and at:http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/forms/sfn58601.pd
do not represent the parent, the school district or f or by calling NDDPI at the telephone number
What is IEP facilitation?
the state. listed on the front of this brochure.
Parents of children with disabilities and school
Requests should be addressed to the Dispute • Maintains impartiality and does not take
Resolution Coordinator at the address printed on
the front of this brochure.
sides, place blame or determine if a
particular decision is right or wrong.
What are the characteristics of IEP
• Does not impose a decision on the group.
in Special Education
facilitation? Does the facilitator make decisions?
A Facilitated IEP Meeting: The facilitator, who is not a member of the team,
• Supports all parties in participating fully. facilitates communication among the IEP team
• Builds and improves relationships among members and assists them in developing an
the IEP team members and between parents appropriate IEP for the student. The members of
and schools. the IEP team are the decision-makers.
• Ensures that the meeting is student-focused.
• Models effective communication. How do I prepare for a facilitated IEP
• Clarifies points of agreement and meeting?
disagreement. • Prepare a written list of issues you want to
• Provides opportunities for team members to discuss and questions you want to ask.
consider other alternatives. • Ask yourself:
• Is provided at no cost to the parents or the (1) Where is the student now in his/her
school. educational performance?
• Is less stressful than formal proceedings. (2) Where do you want the student to be a
• Supports improved implementation because year from now and how can those
there is greater ownership by all members. expectations be measured?
(3) In what ways can the team help the
What is the role of the IEP Facilitator? student to meet those expectations?
The facilitator: • Organize your documents.
Assists members of the IEP team to focus on • Be willing to consider other alternatives.
developing a satisfactory IEP and will assist
in creating an overall agenda for the The ND Department of Public Instruction
believes that this brochure will be useful to you ND Department of Public Instruction
• Guides the discussion by keeping the team’s
in resolving your concerns. The Department is Dr. Wayne G. Sanstead,
dedicated to building positive, effective parent State Superintendent
energy centered on student-focused
and professional partnerships based upon
questions such as “Where does the student
knowledge, trust and open communication. 600 East Boulevard Ave, Dept 201
need to be a year from now?”
• Assists the team to resolve disagreements
Bismarck, ND 58505-0440
This brochure describes the special education (701) 328-2277
that arise during the meeting.
IEP Facilitation process. If you wish to discuss
• Fosters open communication. Toll Free 1-866-741-3519
other dispute resolution options available to you
• Asks clarifying questions about issues. in resolving your problems, you may contact the
• Keeps the team members on task. Department at the number listed on the front of