Facilitation / Mediation / Due Process
If you have problems or disagreements concerning your child’s special education program you have the right to take steps to resolve your areas of disagreement. Both the Federal Law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – IDEA’04) and the State Law (PA Regulations and Standards) give you that right. If you have tried to work with your child’s school and have not resolved your concerns and you believe that your child’s special education rights have been violated, you can request a:
· IEP/IFSP Facilitation: A voluntary process that can be used when all parties agree that it is beneficial to have a neutral third party at an IEP meeting to help facilitate communication and the drafting of the IEP: https://odr-pa.org/facilitation/iep-ifsp-facilitation/
· Mediation Session: A voluntary process that assists families of children with disabilities and schools resolve their different viewpoints on a child’s special education program. Attorneys can attend only if the family’s attorney attends. For more information: https://odr-pa.org/mediation/
There are two types of mediation: facilitative and evaluative. For more information go to: https://odr-pa.org/types-of-mediation/
· Due Process Hearing (DPH) are similar to court. The education agency will have an attorney therefore – although it is not mandatory – we recommend for a parent to have an attorney representing them, if possible. However, if a parent cannot have a lawyer this should not discourage them from requesting a Due Process Hearing.
Once a Due Process Hearing is requested, the Intermediate Unit should schedule a Resolution Session to try to solve the issues within 15 days of the DPH request. If both you and the school district agree to waive the resolution session and go straight to a due process hearing then the Office of Dispute Resolution has 30 calendar days to conduct the Due Process Hearing, and the decision should be rendered within 45 days, unless an extension is granted. You can also agree to go to a Mediation Session instead of a Resolution Session. For more information on DPH, go to: https://odr-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/ODR-Understanding-Special-Education-Due-Process-Hearings-A-Guide-for-Parents-and-Families-8.2022.pdf
For official forms click here: https://odr-pa.org/request-forms/
For Forms in other languages, look at the top left side of your screen and it says “Google”, click on the arrow and select your preferred language.
· Put your request in writing.
· Make sure you put the date on your request
· Keep a copy for your archives