Supporting the IEP Process: A Facilitator's Guide

Author: Nicholas R.M. Martin

Format: Paperback, 216 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781598571141
Price: $29.95

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Positive and productive IEP meetings lay the groundwork for better student outcomes, but when team opinions clash and emotions run high, a meeting can fall apart before the child can benefit. A neutral third-party facilitator can make all the difference-and now there's a practical, how-to guide that shows professionals how to step into this critical role.

A popular staff development and conflict resolution specialist whose dynamic presentations have helped thousands of professionals, Nick Martin shows readers how to effectively facilitate the whole IEP process, from initiating contact with team members to working through even the toughest conflicts. Professionals will discover the skills, actions, and attitudes they need to

  • establish a positive climate where all parties feel welcome and comfortable
  • work with the meeting chairperson to set ground rules and an agenda
  • build collaboration that leads to consensus
  • promote respectful communication among all members of the team
  • resolve conflict through effective interventions such as probing for interests, reframing, and pausing for reflection
  • respond sensitively and constructively to strong feelings
  • avoid common pitfalls of facilitation, such as being too passive or too directive, or missing critical junctures for intervention
  • recognize when an impasse has been reached and help the team break through it
  • bring meaningful closure to the meeting by clarifying what's been learned and what the next steps might be

Because a good facilitator knows what to say and how to say it, readers will get dozens of realistic team dialogues that not only model effective words but also help them master tone and delivery. And the practical, quick-reference tools and exercises—such as a model IEP meeting agenda, facilitation intervention exercises, and facilitator dos and don'ts—make the principles of successful facilitation clear and easy to apply.

A must for IEP facilitators and a valuable read for all team members, this highly accessible guide is the key to maintaining harmony as parents and professionals work toward their common goal: IEPs that help children reach their full potential.


Review: Autism-Asperger's Digest
"Armed with the practical, sensible information this book delivers, parents, teachers and administrators wil be better prepared to participate in positive, productive IEP meetings."
Review: Midwest Book Review- Taylor's Bookshelf
"An invaluable and instructive resource for anyone having to be responsible for the conducting of an IEP meetingThoroughly user friendly."
Review by: Nori Cuellar Mora, former Associate Director of Instructional Services, Education Service Center, Region 2, Corpus Christi, Texas
"The next best thing to having Nick Martin at your side is to purchase this guidebook. It fosters what people appreciate most often-being good listeners and guiding the way to help others get to appropriate decisions. Diplomacy and support of feelings at its best!"
Review by: Chuck Noe, member Texas Council Administrators of Special Education
"Martin is very knowledgeable and is excellent at training people to be facilitators . . . I highly recommend the book for those who want to become facilitators or learn about facilitation."
Review by: Peggy Blanton, former Director of Special Education, Fayette County (KY) Public Schools
"For anyone whose goal is to have the IEP process result in the optimal education programs for students with disabilities."
Review by: Patty Moore, Children, Family & Advocacy Services, Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara, CA
"A practical tool, easy to read, and a must have for both school staff and parents . . . models valuable strategies for conflict prevention and resolution."
Review by: Art Stewart, Coordinator of Mediation, Virginia Department of Education; Senior Advisor, CADRE, Trainer and Consultant
"A clearly written and practical guide to IEP facilitation . . . loaded with examples drawn from experience with special education negotiations."
Review by: Kate Scorgie, Professor, Azusa Pacific University
"This informative guide, complete with practical simulations of how an effective facilitator can enhance communication and solution-building, has the potential to transform the IEP process."
Review by: Kathy Wian, Coordinator, Conflict Resolution Program, University of Delaware
"Martin's simple and practical strategies provide the basis for facilitators to support recognition, empowerment and dialogue among team members to achieve meaningful collaboration."
Review by: Gregory Abell, Senior PartnerSound Options Group, LLC
"Nicholas Martin has once again provided a valuable resource in support of effective collaboration in Special Education. If you are considering serving in the role of IEP Facilitator or implementing a Facilitation system, you MUST read this book."
Review by: Kerry Voss Smith, Director, Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution
"A practical, step by step guide for IEP Facilitators, Martin&#39s book is also an excellent resource for states interested in designing or refining an IEP Facilitation program."
Review by: Barbara C. Trolley, Professor, Counselor Education, St. Bonaventure University
"The need for a practical guide for facilitators such as this cannot be underestimated. . . . This guide is positive, with an aim at better understanding by, and communication among, all parties."

Table of Contents

About the Author



  1. Fa-cil-i-tate: vt. to make easier
  2. Three Philosophies of Helping: Facilitator Styles
  3. The Ten Roles of the Facilitator
  4. Planning and Guiding the Meeting
  5. Strategies for Intervention
  6. Dealing with Impasse
  7. Establishing IEP Facilitation


Appendix A. Exercises in Facilitation Styles: Model Responses
Appendix B. Facilitator Dos and Don'ts
Appendix C. Sample IEP Meeting Agenda
Appendix D. Exercises in Reframing: Model Reframes
Appendix E. Facilitation Intervention Options
Appendix F. Exercises in Identifying Options: Model Responses
Appendix G. Exercises in Process Intervention: Model Responses
Appendix H. Dealing with Impasse: A Summary of Options
Appendix I. 20 Questions You Should Answer Before Creating an IEP Meeting Facilitation System
Appendix J. Sample Information Sheet for a Facilitated IEP
Appendix K: Sample Agreement Form for a Facilitated IEP Meeting
Appendix K. A Broad-Based Proposal for Conflict Reduction


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