Special Education Mediation

It’s back-to-school time, and both parents and schools want children to be successful. Successful outcomes are more likely to occur for students with special needs when parents and schools work as partners in providing an education for children. However, even in the best of circumstances, partners can face disagreements.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles children with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Parents and school officials may disagree on what special education services and placement a child should receive under this right.

For example, if you work for the school district, you may see that the parent doesn’t fully understand why the special education team is recommending a particular placement.

As a parent, you may be concerned that your child needs one-on-one assistance throughout the school day, including restroom visits, not just in the classroom.

Both parties may see their own point of view, but would benefit from having a trained neutral third party who could bring everyone to the table to discuss the issues. This process is called mediation.

Mediation is an alternative option for resolving conflicts between parents and schools. This option may be sought because both parties are committed to mending damaged relationships.

At Concord Mediation Center, the process of Special Education Mediation can help effectively manage conflict and avoid aggravating adversarial parent-school relationships.

The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion and help parties reach an agreement — not to recommend solutions or take sides. Our trained mediators pay attention to the comfort level of the participants and ensure that each person at the table is heard. Mediators focus the discussion by summarizing key points, identifying the issues and facilitating the process to move the discussion from voicing the concerns to evaluating possible outcomes. Their job is to direct the conversation, encouraging participants to be creative in seeking solutions that are beneficial to both parties.

The Nebraska Department of Education has contracted with Concord Mediation Center to provide Special Education Mediation services at no cost to the parties.

For more information, please call us at 402-345-1131.

Special Education Mediation