Special Education Mediation
The New York Center for Interpersonal Development provides special education mediations under an umbrella program set up by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA) and supported by federal law. NYSDRA has been contracting with the New York State Education Department since 1990 to mediate these conflicts. Revised legislation in 1995 required that the school district must offer the option of mediation as an alternative to an impartial hearing. In this way, both parties can come to a mutual understanding, and develop their own solutions.
Over 85% of the referrals to mediation have been successfully mediated and resolved. NYSDRA and our Center provide information to and answer questions from parents as well, thereby resulting in a better understanding of Special Education Mediation.
What takes place at a special education mediation?
An impartial mediator will meet with the parties to discuss the issues involved. Each person will have the opportunity to express his/her concerns and talk about the needs of the child. Past, current and future plans will be discussed with the goal toward reaching agreement on the most appropriate plan for the child.
Who are the mediators?
The mediators are assigned by our Center, which is the Community Dispute Resolution Center in Richmond County. Mediators share different backgrounds and all have been trained and certified by NYSDRA. They are experienced in dispute resolution and have had specialized training in the field of Special Education. they are not experts in Special Education but rather are expert mediators who have had an understanding of the Special Education system.
What do I need to do for mediation?
You need to be able to openly discuss the issues concerning your child's educational plan. You may bring any information that you feel is important to do this.
Who from the school will participate in the process?
The person who will represent the school varies depending on that particular school. However, that individual must have the authority to make any agreements regarding the child's education plan at mediation. you may find out who is attending from the school by contacting our center prior to the mediation date.
Does this cost anything?
No, not to you or the school district. Any fees charged by our center are paid for by the New York State Education Department through NYSDRA.
What if an agreement is reached?
The mediation agreement will immediately be forwarded to be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
What if no agreement is reached?
Requesting and attending mediation is a part of your due process rights. It does not prevent you from continuing with other forms of due process such as an impartial hearing.