Facilitation is a voluntary process that can be used when parties in an IEP, IFSP or other meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would facilitate communication and problem solving. It is most often used when there is a history of contentious interactions between the family and school, the participants anticipate that they will be unable to reach agreement on critical issues, or when a meeting is expected to be particularly complex and controversial. Facilitators often serve as special education mediators in their state and have received additional training beyond that which they received to become mediators. Additionally, many school districts have specially trained staff members to serve in their own schools, districts or regions, or to assist in others, to more effectively facilitate problematic IEP meetings. 

IEP facilitation is all about the student and helping the IEP team overcome the pressure and anxiety often associated with a contentious meeting. The facilitator makes sure that the focus of the team remains on the best interests of the student. The facilitator’s primary goal is to assist team members in the thoughtful, productive construction of a quality individualized educational program.
When parents or school representatives are apprehensive about the next IEP meeting, or it is a complex meeting with numerous participants, or communication between home and school is becoming tense, an impartial facilitator can be requested to assist the IEP team members in communicating more effectively, keeping the focus on student outcomes, and developing compliant IEPs.
The Facilitated Individualized Education Program is designed for parents and school districts in order to resolve a dispute. The role of an IEP Facilitator is to ensure that the IEP Team does their best thinking, interacts respectfully, the perspectives of all participants are heard, and the IEP team focuses on future action.
A facilitated IEP meeting is an IEP team meeting that includes an impartial facilitator who promotes effective communication and assists an IEP team in developing an acceptable IEP. The facilitator keeps the team focused on the proper development of the IEP while addressing conflicts that arise.

A Complaint Assistance IEP (CAIEP) meeting is an IEP meeting that is facilitated by the representative of the public agency who directs special education programs within the public agency, and who has decision-making authority on behalf of such agency. This special type of IEP meeting is intended to provide parents with an opportunity to discuss disputed IEP-related matters, and to provide the public agency with an opportunity to address and resolve their concerns.

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