Frequently Asked Questions
Frequent Questions & Answers
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What are the four dispute resolution mechanisms provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.
Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
There are four dispute resolution mechanisms provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq, (hereafter sometimes referred to as “IDEA” and the accompanying federal regulations: mediation, state complaints, resolution sessions, and due process hearings. In addition, some states and districts are experimenting with fifth method-facilitated IEP meetings.
Special education disputes may be resolved through any of the five methods or by any combination of the methods. It is highly unusual under the law for an aggrieved party to be permitted to invoke more than one resolution option. Although mediation is often used in combination with litigation, it is rare for other formal methods to be combined. An unhappy party could file a state complaint wait for the results and then file a due process hearing over the same dispute. The same dispute can be submitted at any time in the process to mediation. A resolution session occurs in every due process filed by a parent unless waived or submitted to mediation in lieu thereof. It is true that if the complaint and due process are filed at the same time, the portions of the state complaint duplicating the due process complaint are held in abeyance until resolution of the due process, but if they are not filed at the same time, there is no prohibition upon the utilization of multiple methods.
Adding to the frustration of this lack of finality is the fact that the result of most of the options may also be appealed to one or more levels of the court system. The U. S. Supreme Court has noted that the judicial review process for special education cases takes a long time, referring to the appellate process as “ponderous.” Town of Burlington v. Dept of Educ 471 U.S. 358, 105 S.Ct. 1996, 556 IDELR 389 (1985).
Here is the OSEP Questions and Answers (Document) On Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures For Parents and Children With Disabilities:
Evaluation Consent Forms
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Can the evaluator suggest on her evaluation that recommendations will be discussed at the Team Meeting?
603 CMR 28.04(c)
Reports of assessment results. Each person conducting an assessment shall summarize in writing the procedures employed, the results, and the diagnostic impression, and shall define in detail and in educationally relevant and common terms, the student's needs, offering explicit means of meeting them. The assessor may recommend appropriate types of placements, but shall not recommend specific classrooms or schools.
Summaries of assessments shall be completed prior to discussion by the Team and, upon request, shall be made available to the parents at least two days in advance of the Team discussion at the meeting occurring pursuant to 603 CMR 28.05(1).
Always ask in writing for the reports to be supplied 48 hrs prior to your meeting so that you have a chance to review them.
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