Effective September 2014, ODR has modified procedures for requesting IEP Facilitation to make it easier for parties to do so. The IEP Facilitation video and brochure were produced prior to that time and do not reflect recent changes to the request process.
IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be used when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.
It is important to understand that IEP facilitators are not hearing officers and do not have the authority to make decisions for the parties if the parties are unable to agree. IEP facilitators are third-party neutrals with a thorough understanding of special education law and procedures. They are not advocates for either party. They help the members of the IEP team focus on the issues at hand during the IEP meeting. The facilitator’s role is to focus the dynamics of the meeting to ensure that the participants interact respectfully, that the perspectives of all the participants are heard, and that the participants focus on the issues and future actions.
IEP Facilitation is provided at no cost for IDEA-related cases.
For more information, please call the Office for Dispute Resolution at 1-800-222-3353.