FIEP - Facilitating IEPs

Facilitating IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) or, in Texas, Facilitating ARDs (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) is a term used to describe an approach on the rise in special education.

This facilitation approach applies skills and knowledge from the fields of group dynamics, conflict resolution, communication and meeting management to IEP or ARD meetings.

Facilitation is a process in which a person intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies, discusses, solves problems & makes decisions…thus increasing the group’s effectiveness.

Roger Schwarz, The Skilled Facilitator, 1994

Picture of meeting with 4 people smiling and shaking hands

Facilitation Training:

  • enhances the skills of all ARD/IEP team members,
  • encourages positive parent and school relationships,
  • improves the quality of IEPs and other documents developed by the team, and
  • promotes greater commitment to follow-through on decisions and recommendations.

ARD/IEP meetings benefit from skilled and capable facilitators who can assist the team in crafting agreements that lead to educational programs with beneficial outcomes for students with disabilities.

ARD/IEP facilitation is not mentioned in federal special education law and is not one of the dispute resolution options described in the federal law's procedural safeguards, However, facilitation is being used to help IEP teams reach agreements in a collaborative manner.

Region 13 supports this national trend by offering facilitation training to parents and schools via workshops and an online course and by other activities such as technical assistance and coaching/mentoring.