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. 

LEA-Based Facilitated IEPs that Prevent Conflict: Knowing the IEP Meeting Essentials

This presentation increases specific skills related to preparing for and holding the IEP meeting. By attending to the purpose, the plan, the participants, the IEP process and use of a "parking lot" technique, it combines good meeting practice (i.e. have an agenda, a time-keeper, a note-taker, defined roles) with specifics of the federally mandated IEP process, such as developing goals before determining placement.

Balancing Diverse Teams Through the IEP Facilitation Process

With IDEA 2004, IEP teams have more responsibility to collaborate than ever before. Bringing diverse groups together to hold a student centered meeting continues to be the expectation and challenge facing team members. Instructional leadership, as a goal, is not often achieved as administrators strive to juggle the daily demands that fragment their day.

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