Facilitation refers to the use of specialized skills to run a meeting in a fair, inclusive and organized fashion. It can be used in any IFSP or IEPT. A meeting leader may employ facilitation skills or a neutral third-party facilitator may be asked to do so. IEP team meetings are numerous, have numerous participants and tackle numerous, complex issues. Conversation in such meetings can be aided by a neutral facilitator. A facilitator can: Ensure that everyone has a chance to speak Ensure that all concerns and ideas are recorded and considered Help resolve differences of opinion that arise at the table IEP team leaders can ask facilitators to manage meetings so they can concentrate on the issues and the discussion. Leaders and members alike may find a facilitator useful in keeping meetings productive and organized. With a facilitator, IEP Team members can more effectively: Focus on the issues and student benefits Make better use of each others' knowledge and expertise Address conflict constructively and generate creative options Manage the use of the meeting time
System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 

System Design/Management

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.


Forms/Letter Templates

Online Facilitation Request Form:


Practitioner Standards & Professional Development: 

Training/Professional Development

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.

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 

Availability/Accessing Services

Services can be obtained by contacting 1-833-KIDS1st (1-833-543-7178) or by using request forms.



MI-2 MI SEMS Facilitation & Mediation Brochure 2019


Program Contact

David Gruber
Michigan Special Education Mediation Services