Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Ryan, Joseph B

Committee Member

Katsiyannis , Antonis

Committee Member

Hodge , Janie

Committee Member

Sherrill , Windsor

Abstract

Conflict between parents and school personnel continues to be an area of concern for students with disabilities, despite efforts by lawmakers to provide more parental input into the process of identification and continuation of special education services. Recent data suggest that unresolved conflict at the local level can cost a school district thousands of dollars to resolve the conflict in court, without consideration to the emotional costs that can be involved with this type of conflict resolution. Through mandates from IDEA 2004, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) strategies, such as facilitated individualized education program (FIEP) meetings, have been utilized to reduce these costs. FIEP meetings offer an alternative to costly litigation by utilizing a neutral third party to ensure all stakeholders involved in the FIEP meeting are focused on the best interests of the child. ADR strategies, specifically FIEP meetings, have not been widely researched. More than half the states utilize these meetings, therefore it is important to research what, if any, impact these meetings have on resolving conflict between stakeholders. This study examined the different types of ADR utilized across the states, specifically FIEP meetings, and data were collected regarding their effectiveness. Results revealed that the overarching perception regarding their effectiveness are positive; however, there are some limitations to these meetings and not all states collect and/or report data regarding FIEP meetings. Additionally, there are many different parameters regarding the implementation and use of FIEP meetings, including the training offered, compensation and case load for facilitators, and years these meetings have been offered state-wide. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.

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