The federally-funded Special Education Mediation Services (SEMS) is a Mandated Activities Project of the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education. The program has been serving Michigan parents and schools since 1997. It is currently administered by Dispute Resolution Education Resources, Inc., a Lansing-based nonprofit organization. The program provides services through the Community Dispute Resolution Program, a network of 18 conflict resolution centers across the state.
SEMS provides mediation, facilitation, and training services for working through disagreements so that children with disabilities promptly receive the services they need to develop and succeed in school.
All SEMS mediators and facilitators are trained in mediation and facilitation
techniques, and special education law and regulations (including acronyms and
the IFSP and IEP processes). Many have more than ten years experience with the
program. The SEMS provides trained facilitators and mediators across the state.
The Dispute Resolution Education Resources, Inc. trains all of their mediators in IEP facilitation through a separate IEP facilitation training module. Facilitators must complete 40 hours of training; fulfill a 10-hour internship; mediate at least 25 hour of non-special education disputes; complete 16 hours of advanced mediation training in special education matters; and attend a day-long update training on mediation/facilitation training skills and special education issues at least once every two years.
Services can be obtained by contacting 1-833-KIDS1st (1-833-543-7178) or by using request forms.