Before the meeting begins, the IEP facilitator will make sure that an agreement to facilitate is signed and in place. If following the meeting, the team reaches an agreed upon plan, the IEP facilitator will assist the parties in reviewing and signing the plan. If an agreement on the plan is not reached following the meeting, the parties may elect to schedule an additional meeting, with or without the facilitator. Generally, the length of
the facilitated IEP meeting is unknown, as the team members determine when the plan is completed and ready to implement. Many IEP meetings run at least one hour, so it should be assumed that a contentious facilitated IEP meeting will take longer. In those instances where a day is not sufficient to reach an agreed upon plan, IEP facilitation can be scheduled for an additional day(s).
A trained facilitator:
• Helps members of the IEP team focus on developing a satisfactory IEP. With the
agreement of all team members, the facilitator may help create an overall agenda and assist in generating ground rules for the meeting.
• Guides the discussion by keeping the team’s energy centered on student-focused
• Assists the team to resolve conflicts and disagreements that may arise during the meeting.
• Helps to maintain open communication among all members.
• Helps team members develop and ask clarifying questions.
• Helps to keep team members on task and within the time allotted for the meeting.
• Maintains impartiality and does not take sides, place blame or determine if a particular decision is right or wrong.
• Does not impose a decision on the group.
Special education mediators in Ohio also facilitate IEP meetings and each of them handles it according to their own personal style. The facilitator makes no educational decisions regarding the student.
The facilitator is a skilled special education mediator who has received specialized training in the area of IEP development.
IEP facilitation is available under the following conditions:
• IEP facilitation is available without the need to request a due process hearing or file a
• IEP facilitation can be requested by any member of more/lessthe IEP team.
• IEP facilitation is available during the filing and investigation of a formal complaint or
during the filing of a due process hearing request.
• IEP facilitation is provided at no cost to both parties.
• Once both parties agree to IEP facilitation, they are provided a list of three IEP
facilitators to choose from.
• The selected IEP facilitator will contact both parties to set up the date, time and location of the IEP facilitation.
Participants are asked to complete an evaluation of the facilitator and the IEP facilitation process at the end of the meeting.