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Ways to Resolve Conflicts with Special Education Teams

The hope is always that your child is at the center of their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Even with good intentions, different opinions and strategies can cause conflict between families and the special education team. The life trajectory tool from Charting the Life Course is a great way to create a shared direction and understanding for the team to work from. Most importantly, the tool helps keep the student at the heart of the IEP.

A recent training from MNConnect Leadership Group focused on family and professional partnerships in developing the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The session covers how to fill out the life trajectory tool and examples of how others have used it. Watching this webinar will inspire you to work on one with your child to bring to the next IEP meeting.

You may have tried to collaborate with the school but are still finding barriers to your child accessing the education they need. There are options to resolve conflict through the Minnesota Department of Education. Below you will find a few options that might fit your situation.

Special Education Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process that allows parties to resolve disputes without a formal legal hearing. An impartial mediator helps the parties express their views and positions and understand each other. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the discussion and help all parties reach an agreement. The mediator should not recommend solutions or take positions or sides.

You can find more information from the Minnesota Department of Education on Special Education Mediation.

Facilitated Individualized Education Program Meeting

A facilitated team meeting is an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting led by a neutral, state-provided facilitator. These meetings assist an IEP team in developing an IEP. The goals of a facilitated IEP are to:

  • Improve communication among IEP team members
  • Discuss areas of disagreement
  • Develop an IEP that all IEP team members agree to

You can find more information from the Minnesota Department of Education on Facilitated Team Meetings.

Minnesota Department of Education Complaint State Complaint

Parents can file a formal complaint with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) if they feel their child’s IEP has not been followed. They can also file a complaint if they feel their child’s educational rights have been violated.

You can find more information from the Minnesota Department of Education on Special Education Complaints.

Questions and Concerns

For other special education-related questions, a great resource is the Special Education Assistance and Compliance line.

The Arc Minnesota is available to talk through your options or answer your special education questions.