Alternative Individualized Education Program (IEP) dispute resolution models should respond to limitations of current options. An experimental IEP dispute resolution program provides parents and schools with an evidence-supported neutral perspective on what is needed for free and appropriate education (FAPE) and least restrictive environment (LRE). Then, instead of being facilitated or directed via a hearing, for example, the parties attempt to resolve their own dispute. Ninety percent of consultations led to a signed IEP. Effectiveness, however, also concerns satisfaction and working relationships between the parties. Follow-up surveys with 36% of parent parties (parent, advocate, attorney), and 33% of school parties (administrator, educator, attorney) were analyzed using concurrent triangulation mixed methods design, including a content coding analysis. Results reveal beliefs by a majority that the process was effective, and working relationships were maintained or strengthened. Lessons for future interactions were learned.
This article is available through the generous cooperation of the Hammill Institute on Disabilities and Sage Publishing.