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Champions for Children with Disabilities

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Resolving Disagreements Through the Special Education Process

Description: This on-line workshop is designed to provide participants the options and outcomes of dispute resolution. Communication strategies and problem-solving tips will be included to increase participants’ knowledge about dispute resolution.

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Six Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy

This free webinar will explore six skills Minnesota parents can use to become more effective advocates for their child with a disability. Find out why it is important to understand your child’s disability, know your school district, know your rights and responsibilities, effective communication and what your dispute resolution options are.

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Step by Step
School Discipline Guide

Parents of children with disabilities often ask:

  • Can the school send my child home before the end of the school day?
  • Can the school district suspend my child?
  • Can the school district expel my child?
  • What happens to my child’s educational services if he or she is sent home, suspended, or expelled?

This interactive guide will answer these and many other questions. Whether your child is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan, or if you suspect that your child has a disability that affects his or her behavior at school, this guide will help you understand the complex disciplinary process for Minnesota public school children with disabilities.

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Dispute Resolution Project Overview

Helping your child with disabilities receive an appropriate education is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. You and your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team may or may not agree on everything. Disputes and disagreements do occur.

This Web site can help you learn how to manage those disputes in a positive, productive way. Use the information here to increase:

  • knowledge of your special education rights and responsibilities
  • understanding of educational planning and your child’s IEP
  • communication, self-advocacy, and conflict resolution skills
  • awareness of conflict resolution options and how to use them
  • ability to advocate for your child

Having these skills will help you keep your eyes on the prize: an appropriate education for your child.

What’s New?

Pacesetter Article: Creative approach to mediation helps one family resolve a special education dispute

When disputes arise between a parent and a school district, mediation is not unusual. It is rare, however, for a young child to be directly involved in the process, as was the case with Susan, a mom from Minnesota whose 13-year-old son Bradley was at the table when an agreement was reached about his Individualized Education Program (IEP). “I really wanted Bradley to see how many people cared about him and how hard we were all working to resolve things,” said Susan.

After usual efforts to reach an agreement among members of the IEP team have been exhausted, mediation is one of the voluntary dispute resolution options available to families. In mediation, a neutral third party provided by the state helps parents and their child’s school district resolve disputes over identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). At least one parent and a district staff person with authority to resolve the dispute (usually the special education director) must attend the conference. …

Read the full article (page 4)

Checklist : Preparing for and Attending Mediation

Also available in:

A Creative Approach to Mediation in the Pacesetter Fall 2014 Edition

After usual efforts to reach an agreement among members of the IEP team have been exhausted, mediation is one of the voluntary dispute resolution options available to families. This article takes a look at one family's creative approach at resolving a special education dispute.
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Conciliation Article in the Pacesetter Summer 2013 Edition

Conciliation offers families a practical way to resolve special education differences.
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Dispute Resolution Article in the Pacesetter Winter 2011 Edition

New checklist aids parents in filing state special education complaint .
pdf from pacesetter winter 2011 edition Read More >>>

Special Education: What Do Parents Need to Know? — View it hereFlash Video

A 37 minute audio/video overview of special education created to help parents of children with disabilities understand what special education is, how a child might get into special education, how to resolve disagreements, and what role parents play.
Developed by PACER Center, it is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

This presentation has been translated to Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.

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Visit PACER's other sites: Teens Against Bullying | Kids Against Bullying | FAST Family Support | FAPE | MN SEACs

Translated content: Hmoob/Hmong | Español | Soomaaliga/Somali

pdf icon PACER's site offers many PDF files for download, which require Adobe Reader to view. ©2015 PACER Center, Inc.