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What Happens First in my State? Mediation Before Filing a State Complaint?

11/10/11
by Pete Wright

Must mediation take place first – before a parent files a State Complaint? I live in Wyoming.

The specifics and mechanics of mediation vary from state to state. In many states, the regulations permit mediation prior to filing either a complaint or a request for a due process hearing.

You need to find and research your own state’s special education regulations. To find the regulations, go to your state Department of Education. Find a link to that site on the Yellow Pages Directory or follow the steps below.

Find and download your state’s regulations as a complete adobe.pdf file. If you are not sure how to do this – here’s a little tech help.

  • Go to google and simply enter        wyoming special education regulations          .   Using this search term will probably take you directly to them or, if not, to a page that has a direct link to them.
  • Download that pdf file onto your hard drive.
  • Open the file with adobe.  (Usually double clicking the filename is sufficient to open. If not, you may have to download a free Adobe reader. http://get.adobe.com/reader/)
  • Once opened, simply enter      control f      or     command f     dependent on whether you are using Windows or Apple. This will open up the search window.
  • Enter as your search term, the word    mediation     .   This search will take you to all instances where the word “mediation” is located in the regulations.

Be sure to find the portions relating to both state complaints and due process hearing requests.

Now you will be able to see what your state’s regulations say about mediation, (i.e. how to request, when permitted, etc.).

Good luck.

Pete

You will find out more about mediation as a procedural safeguard in IDEA on this page: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/mediation.index.htm

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sharon L. 11/22/11 at 8:31 pm

    Chrissan – Have you had the school do a multifactored evaluation? If not request one in writing and send to principal. Request that you hear from them in 5 business days. After this set up a time to sign the school’s consent form for the testing. They have 60 days to get the testing done. Request a DRAFT copy of the results & get some help from a professional to go over it (perhaps the person who did the outside evaluation). Then go to the meeting with your professional if possible with the outside test results. If the school refuses to identify your child for services & you and your professional believes she does qualify do NOT sign anything. Instead request a prior written notice as to why. You can then file complaint/due process if you need to.

  • 2 Jean 11/16/11 at 2:14 am

    The IEP team in my child’s middle school is responsive to his needs & delivers specialized instruction for reading, writing & task completion. The high school rep. was asked to describe specialized instruction in the co-taught setting for next year. She said it was primarily lecture (with whole group oral reading in literature, no pullouts or flexible groupings). The team determined small group reading was needed. The high school rep. said 5 students were needed in order to offer the level class my son required, and they could not tell us until a couple of days before classes begin. If 4 others don’t register, he could be put in with lower level students & Language! instruction would be split between special ed. teacher & parapro. The middle school team stated that would not meet his need. No solutions have been offered to my concerns.

  • 3 Debbie 11/13/11 at 8:30 pm

    Chrissan, First, you need to understand eligibility for IEP (special education) services. Also, you need to understand the difference between standardized and non-standardized evaluations. Start by reading the articles on the Wrightslaw web site. Ask the school for copies of the reports of the evaluations they used to determine her reading level. Do this in writing. Check out the articles on writing letters. Check the FETA website for sample letters. Keep documentation of conversations and responses to letters. If you start learning the process, you will be able to work the process and get the services your child needs. Also, it is not your problem what staff the school does or does not have. Once your daughter’s eligibility and needs are established, it is up to them to provide the services. And they will.

  • 4 Chrissan 11/11/11 at 1:40 am

    My daughter is diagnosed with dyslexia by independent consultation. The school thinks she is at end of 3rd grade level to 4th grade level reading. I have had her evaluating many times and she reads at 1st grade level with phonetic problems. I informed the school with the new information and they are not doing anything about it, but for me to continue our tutoring. My daughter is not on a 504 or IEP. I have been told the school can make the decision if the kid qualifies for an IEP but if she has diabilites does not qualify her for any services. The other problem, our school does not have a special education teacher in the school. What should I do? How should I approach this? Can the school pay for services my daughter may need?

  • 5 Debbie 11/10/11 at 3:39 pm

    Mediation can be a great way to avoid due process. I have seen much success for parents in mediation. A couple of points to remember
    - Define clearly what your are trying to achieve
    - Decide what you are willing to accept if you cannot get everything you want
    - Hone your listening skills. You must understand what the district is saying and what they want to achieve in the mediation.
    - Focus on anything you and the school do agree on. Get all agreement in writing. You can always go further in due process for anything you cannot achieve in mediation. Meanwhile, the agreed on items go into effect.
    - Manners, manners, manners! A good mediator can be a huge help incoming to agreement. You have to make a good impression.
    - The mediator is not on your side, not on theirs. The mediator is supposed to facilitate agreement.