Friday, October 9, 2009

Fast Fact Friday: Alternative Dispute Resolution

"Alternative Dispute Resolution" encompasses many processes by which parties resolve disagreements without going through a trial. There are many benefits to ADR in general, which include saving time and money for the parties, and possibly achieving better and more participant-oriented results. ADR has grown increasingly popular in all kinds of cases, due in part to the realization that it could lead to faster results than if parties waited to go through a hearing or a trial in an over-burdened court or hearing system.

In special education, ADR includes the following:
  • Informal Dispute Resolution processes established within the procedures of the local school districts, allowing for parents and the district to discuss disagreements and possible solutions without filing for due process
  • Resolution Sessions under IDEA 2004, which are held within 15 days of when a parent files for due process, and include parents and district representatives, possibly IEP team members
  • Mediation, a voluntary process in which a neutral third party mediator, assigned through whatever system is established in your state, meets with the parties to try to help them resolve their disagreement and reach a settlement
  • Settlement negotiations and written settlement offers, which may occur at any point during the case between the parties and which allow for the parties to attempt, independently of a third party, to reach a negotiated settlement

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