We provide Special Education Mediation and IEP Meeting Facilitation services as the administrative agent for a number of state agencies.
These services are provided at no cost to parents and school districts. We serve in this capacity for the following agencies:
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction,
Washington State (OSPI)
Early Support for Infants and Toddlers, Washington State (ESIT)
Are you scheduled for special education mediation?
If you are already scheduled for special education mediation, there are some important things you should know.
Prepare for your upcoming special education mediation
Special Education Mediation for OSPI and ESIT
Sound Options Group serves as the Administrative Agent to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State to provide mediation services under Part B of the IDEA. We also serve in a similar capacity to the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) with the Department of Early Learning providing mediation under Part C of the IDEA.
IDEA mediation services are available at no charge to parents, school districts, lead agencies or service providers. Mediations occur statewide at locations that are mutually acceptable to the participants.
Mediation is a voluntary process for the parents, school districts, and agencies to resolve problems that involve the initial identification of a student, evaluations of the student, the educational placement, and the educational services provided to a student (FAPE). Parents, school districts and agencies may invite any participants they believe will assist in the mediation. Either the district/agency or the parent may refuse to mediate, and there are occasions when parties are not able to reach an agreement. Mediation may not be used to delay or deny rights under IDEA or the right to proceed to a due process hearing. When parties reach an agreement, those agreements are in writing and are enforceable in state and federal courts.
During mediation, we will:
- Ensure that all participants have the opportunity to share their view of the situation
- Facilitate a conversation about the core issues causing the dispute.
- Help participants develop solutions that are best for the children involved.
IEP Meeting Facilitation for OSPI
Sound Options Group is available to provide IEP Meeting Facilitation upon the request of a parent or district. IEP Meeting Facilitation is available to assist IEP teams in the effective development of an IEP. The facilitator’s role is:
- To ensure that during an IEP meeting, the IEP team addresses all matters on the meeting agenda
- To facilitate the meeting process so that all team members participate and are given an opportunity to provide input
- To assist the IEP team to reach decisions about a student’s program
The role of an IEP meeting facilitator is different from that of a mediator and he or she is not a member of the IEP team. Both parent and district must agree to the participation of an IEP meeting facilitator.
Once there is agreement for a facilitated IEP meeting, a case manager from Sound Options Group L.L.C. will communicate with the parent and district representative in preparation for setting up the meeting. The members of the IEP team should take time to consider and be prepared to discuss the following:
- Date, time and location of the meeting. It is necessary to reserve a half day for the facilitated IEP meeting.
- Who will participate in the IEP meeting?
- What is the expected role of the facilitator for this meeting?
- Specific objectives for the meeting.
Please be sure that when you finalize your IEP meeting date, all school district IEP team members will be attending the meeting. If they are not attending the meeting, follow the rules for excusing team members.
OSPI is providing the IEP facilitator at no cost to parents and districts, and the facilitator is intended to be available at no cost for one IEP meeting per student per year. If the team requires an additional meeting to complete the process, OSPI and Sound Options Group L.L.C. will review the request for an additional facilitation on a case by case basis. Nothing prevents districts from paying for additional IEP meeting facilitations.
Contact Mindy — 800.692.2540 — to discuss IEP facilitation for your district, school or organization.