Some States and LEA's offer a mediation model that is different than what IDEA requires. These approaches include panel or team mediation where two or or more mediators are used. Other models might include med/arb where a mediator becomes, with the support of the participants, a decision maker if they reached impasse. Also, online or cyber mediation is being used with increased frequency. 

The Solutions Panel process was developed in response to the growing need for a better way for families and schools to resolve their differences around special education issues. 

The Solutions Panel is part of the El Dorado County SELPA ADR model. Rather than living with a decision made by a third party, such as a judge or hearing officer, the parties craft their own agreement.

The Contra Costa SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) offers a continuum of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) activities as an informal method for settling disagreements that may arise during IEP meetings. The Solutions Panel is just one practice.

Voices from the Field: Doug McDougall

Doug McDougall has been active in alternative dispute resolution activities for over 20 years. He has worked as a community mediator, provided dispute avoidance services through a Covenant of Right Relations with faith based communities as well as ADR systems and implementation design with the...Learn more
This strategy, called a Solutions Team, is designed to build a safe, collaborative working relationship by fostering communication between families and school personnel.

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