Supporting the IEP Process: A Facilitator's Guide


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...

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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 rea

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Editorial Reviews

Nori Cuellar Mora

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!
member Texas Council Administrators of Special Education - Chuck Noe
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.
former Director of Special Education, Fayette County (KY) Public Schools - Peggy Blanton
For anyone whose goal is to have the IEP process result in the optimal education programs for students with disabilities.
Children, Family & Advocacy Services, Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara, CA - Patty Moore
A practical tool, easy to read, and a must have for both school staff and parents . . . models valuable strategies for conflict prevention and resolution.
Coordinator of Mediation, Virginia Department of Education; Senior Advisor, CADRE, Trainer and Consultant - Art Stewart
A clearly written and practical guide to IEP facilitation . . . loaded with examples drawn from experience with special education negotiations.
Professor, Azusa Pacific University - Kate Scorgie
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.
Coordinator, Conflict Resolution Program, University of Delaware - Kathy Wian
Martin&#39s simple and practical strategies provide the basis for facilitators to support recognition, empowerment and dialogue among team members to achieve meaningful collaboration.
Senior PartnerSound Options Group, LLC - Gregory Abell
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.
Director, Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution - Kerry Voss Smith
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.
Professor, Counselor Education, St. Bonaventure University - Barbara C. Trolley
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.
Midwest Book Review- Taylor's Bookshelf
An invaluable and instructive resource for anyone having to be responsible for the conducting of an IEP meeting…Thoroughly user friendly.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598571141
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 524,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas R.M. Martin is a conflict resolution consultant who lives near Fort Worth, Texas, with this wife, Kathleen, and daughter, Miya. Nick is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Hartford, and his educationsl background is in clinical psychology. After many years as a juvenile court psychologist, mental health counselor, and dispute mediator, he has come to focus increasingly on team building and conflict prevention. A considerable part of his more recent work has involved skills-based training for those working in special education. Nick has been authorized to mediate for several court jurisdictions and serves as a contract mediator for the U.S. Postal Service. He has been providing highly acclaimed and practically oriented training for more than 25 years. He has also taught dispute resolution at the graduate level. Nick is the author of An Operator's Manual for Successful Living (DeVorss, 1988) and Strengthening Relationships When Our Children Have Special Needs (Future Horizons, 2004). He has also published numerous newspaper and journal articles, some of which can be found at his website,

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Table of Contents

About the Author



1 Fa-cil-i-tate: vt. to make easier 1

2 Three Philosophies of Helping: Facilitator Styles 11

3 The Ten Roles of the Facilitator 31

4 Planning and Guiding the Meeting 65

5 Strategies for Intervention 83

6 Dealing with Impasse 117

7 Establishing IEP Facilitation 135

References 149

Appendix A Exercises in Facilitation Styles: Model Responses 151

Appendix B Facilitator Dos and Don'ts 153

Appendix C Sample IEP Meeting Agenda 157

Appendix D Exercises in Reframing: Model Reframes 159

Appendix E Facilitation Intervention Options 161

Appendix F Exercises in Identifying Options: Model Responses 164

Appendix G Exercises in Process Intervention: Model Responses 168

Appendix H Dealing with Impasse: A Summary of Options 173

Appendix I 20 Questions You Should Answer Before Creating an IEP Meeting Facilitation System 175

Appendix J Sample Information Sheet for a Facilitated IEP Meeting 178

Appendix K Sample Agreement Form for a Facilitated IEP Meeting 181

Appendix L A Broad-Based Proposal for Conflict Reduction 182

Index 187

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