Special Education Mediation - When parents and schools disagree on special education programs for students with learning disabilities and other disabilities, reaching a resolution can be difficult. Mediation is one way to attempt to overcome the disagreement. Learn how to request free special education mediation services.
Time Required: The mediation process is variable. Usually 15 - 30 days from filing request to completion.
- Mediation services are often helpful in resolving special education disagreements. These services are provided to parents of children with learning disabilities at no cost by state departments of education. Learn more about mediation and what is involved in the mediation process.
- Learn about ways school disability conflicts are resolved.
- Use my model mediation request letter to submit your request to your state's department of education. You may fill out this form, write your own letter, or contact your state to see if a state form exists. Most states will allow you to write and submit your own letters. Download and print a copy of my sample letter:
- Find your state's department of education office of special education contact information. You can find addresses and telephone numbers at my alphabetical listing, "Where to Find Help."
- Mail your letter and wait. Call within a few days to ensure it was received. Keep a record of the name of the person you contact, and write down any additional information he or she may provide to you. If there are further requirements on your part, follow through.
- The office of special education will assign a mediator who will work with you and the district to determine each party is willing to mediate. The mediator will then schedule the mediation at a mutually agreeable time and place. Most mediations are fully completed within thirty days.
- If the mediation is successful, get a copy of the agreement and keep it with your child's special education records at home. Keep your own record of how the district implements their part of the agreement. If you have not done so, create a special education notebook to keep these records. Place documents in chronological order in a notebook. An ordinary binder works well. Label the binder on the spine with your child's name and the beginning date. When the binder is full, write the end date beside the beginning date, and start another notebook.
- If the mediation is not successful, these strategies may help.