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CEDR Services: Special Education

Why contact CEDR for special education issues?

The special education process requires a joint effort of school personnel and families. But the people involved don't always agree on special education issues such as
  • eligibility
  • the nature of a student's needs
  • what to include in an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • how to provide services
  • whether the services provided have been adequate
  • how to assess student success

The disagreements may be based on poor communication or misunderstandings; they may also be substantive differences based on different interests. No matter what the basis for the disagreement, the people involved may not have the skills they need to work through the disagreement collaboratively and produce the best result for the student.

CEDR provides the following services to help:
  • IEP facilitation is a process in which an impartial third party assists facilitates an IEP meeting so that the members of the IEP team can communicate effectively and interact respectfully, with the goal of creating an IEP that will meet the student’s needs. Like mediators and group facilitators, IEP facilitators do not make substantive decisions. Instead, the facilitator supports the group as a whole, helping them to focus on creating an appropriate IEP through collaboration and problem solving during the meeting.See video on DoDEA's experience with IEP facilitation.

    • IEP facilitation is particularly appropriate when:
      • You anticipate that an upcoming IEP meeting will be particularly contentious
      • Previous IEP meetings for this student have resulted in little agreement or have failed to produce a complete, high quality plan
      • Much of the time in previous meetings has been devoted to emotional disagreements and recrimination, rather than to the work of creating an IEP

  • Special education mediation is a process in which impartial third parties with no interest in the conflict facilitate a discussion between parties to a conflict, encouraging them to listen to each other and, if possible, to find a mutually acceptable solution. Special education mediators provide an opportunity for the parties to special education conflict to meet and discuss concerns in a confidential setting. The mediation process focuses on communication and problem-solving in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory, forward-looking decision that is tailored to the particular situation. Special education mediators are trained in both special education law and mediation techniques. Like other mediators, special education mediators have no authority to make a decision or determine who is right or wrong.

    • CEDR will provide mediators for special education disagreements of any sort (not just those related to the development of an IEP) and at any point. It is often best, however, to request mediation early. As conflict goes on, parties tend to harden their positions and tensions and emotions rise. Early mediation is therefore more likely to succeed and to help the parties avoid severe relationship damage.

  • Training: CEDR also offers training to increase the ability of DoDEA personnel to address special education conflict early and constructively. Much of the training focuses on understanding special education conflict, communication skills, and problem solving skills. More.
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