Date Published: Dec 31, 2003
Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)
Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

To help special education planning teams reach agreements, several State Education Agencies (SEAs) provide the option of facilitated Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. The use of externally facilitated IEP meetings is growing nationally. When relationships between parents and schools are strained, facilitated meetings may be beneficial. This guide: 1) provides an introduction to IEP facilitation for parents and other family members to help orient them to this emerging practice; and 2) discusses the use of external IEP facilitators who are not directly affiliated with the team, or who may be independent of both the team and the school district. Those states that use facilitated IEP meetings find that effective IEP meeting facilitation is essential to the IEP process. All IEP meetings benefit from skilled and capable facilitators who can assist the team in crafting agreements that lead to educational programs with beneficial outcomes for students with disabilities. A facilitator helps keep members of the IEP team focused on the development of the IEP while addressing conflicts and disagreements that may arise during the meeting. This document discusses different topics related to the externally facilitated IEP meeting: (1) role of the external facilitator; (2) benefits of a facilitated IEP meeting; (3) family preparation for a facilitated IEP meeting; and (4) frequently asked questions about facilitated IEPs. (ERIC)