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Special Education/Early Intervention Mediation

Special Education/Early Intervention Mediation

In SE/EI mediation, schools/providers and parents meet to discuss a child’s educational plan.

How SE/EI Mediation Works
Mediation provides a forum for face-to-face conversations about the child’s education. It’s both a voluntary and confidential process that can help parents and schools have conversations about a child’s education and services that are facilitated by an impartial mediator. Mediators help communication and support the parties own decision-making.

Based on decisions reached during mediation, a written agreement can be created and a copy provided to all parties. Agreements are only written when all parties decide they would like one. Schools must send a person who is empowered to make decisions and reach agreement.

Common Issues for Special Education/Early Intervention Mediation

  • Identification/Classification
  • Evaluation
  • Recommendation for special education/early intervention services,
  • Educational placement,
  • Disciplinary actions for students with disabilities
  • Other issues related to a child’s education

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I begin the mediation process?
To request a Special Education/Early Intervention Mediation, send a written request to the school’s pupil personnel director or Committee on Special Education Chair and to the Mediation Center. The Center’s coordinator will contact you and the school for confidential intake conversations. An intake conversation is designed to learn more about the situation and explain how mediation works in more depth, but there is no obligation to mediate. If you decide to move ahead, the coordinator will schedule a mediation session. You may also call the Center to talk with staff before you formally request a mediation session.

If there is a Due Process hearing scheduled, participating in mediation will not affect it. If an agreement is reached, parties can decide if a hearing is necessary.

Who are the mediators?
Special Education/Early Intervention mediators are professionally trained staff and volunteers that have received extensive training in mediation with parents and schools about special education issues.

Are there issues that cannot be addressed in mediation?
Yes. They are:

  1. Decisions made at the Subcommittee on Special Education level resulting in disagreement: These must first be referred in writing to the full Committee on Special Education (CSE) for attempted resolution
  2. Awarding of attorney’s fees, even in conjunction with other points of agreement,
  3. Placement in non-approved (by NYSED) private schools.

How much does mediation cost?
There is no fee for Special Education/Early Intervention Mediation. The program is underwritten by a grant from the New York State Education Dept. in collaboration with the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA). The Mediation Center contracts with NYSDRA to provide this program in Dutchess County.