IEP facilitation should not be confused with mediation. The purpose of a facilitated IEP meeting is to develop an acceptable IEP and involves the required IEP team members plus the facilitator. Unlike mediation, a facilitated IEP meeting does not require a separate IEP meeting to formalize the agreements that are reached. Mediation also differs from IEP facilitation in that it involves a smaller, balanced number of participants and may deal with a broader range of issues unrelated to the IEP. A facilitated IEP meeting may take longer than a standard IEP meeting, but typically does not exceed four hours. A facilitated IEP meeting can always be reconvened if consensus on the IEP is not reached at the first meeting.
The facilitator is not a decision-maker but models effective communication skills and offers ways to address and resolve issues related to the IEP development. They are impartial and do not represent the parent, the school district or the State.
Facilitators are individuals with a background in special education who have experience and training in IEP development, special education law, and facilitation methods.
When the IEP team process has been difficult or ineffective at developing an IEP acceptable to the parents and school district, either party may seek to use a facilitator. You may request a facilitated IEP by completing the Request for IEP Facilitation form that can be downloaded from the SDDOE website at: https://doe.sd.gov/sped/complaints.aspx or by calling SDDOE at (605) 773-3678.