Trisha Bergin-Lytton, M.Ed.
Mediator, IEP Facilitator, Trainer & Consultant


    WHAT an IEP/IFSP FACILITATOR IS and IS NOT
                                               (Based on “The Skilled Facilitator” by Roger Schwarz)
An IEP/IFSP Facilitator IS:
·       Substantively neutral/impartial
·       A guardian of team collaboration with chairperson support
·        An advocate for the IEP/IFSP process, not either party
·        A model of effective communication and listening techniques
·        Responsible for:
  • Conducting intake interviews with only the designated school contact and family contact

  • Supporting consensus decision-making

  • Creating an acceptable comfort level for participation by all IEP/IFSP Team Members

  • Gaining agreement on guidelines the group decides to follow during the IEP/IFSP Meeting

  • Inviting discussion between the IEP/IFSP Team Members

  • Maintaining focus on the student's needs

  • Reinforcing the common goal of developing an educational program for the student

  • Guiding attention toward the future

  • Checking for understanding by all IEP/IFSP Team Members throughout the discussions

  • Clarifying concerns expressed by IEP/IFSP Team Members

  • Encouraging investigation of options

  • Promoting the review of agreed-upon items to establish on-going consensus

  • Adhering to confidentiality

  • Monitoring established time frames

  • Helping the IEP/IFSP Team consider how its process may lead to more effective decisions

An IEP/IFSP Facilitator IS NOT:
·         A judge or arbitrator, thus given no authority to make decisions
·         An advocate for either the school district or the family
·         A consultant or trainer
·         A content expert or information resource
·         A clerical person for the IEP/IFSP Team
·         Responsible for the IEP/IFSP Team’s ineffective behavior or its consequences
·         Formally a member of the IEP/IFSP Team
·         Responsible for:
  • Evaluating any IEP/IFSP component, the IEP/IFSP document or a team member's input

  • Providing technical assistance before or during the IEP/IFSP Meeting

  • Enforcing the mediated settlement agreement or Due Process Decision, if one exists

  • Writing a report of findings before or after the IEP/IFSP Meeting

  • Investigating the student's records before or during the IEP/IFSP Meeting

  • Interviewing various IEP/IFSP Team members prior to the IEP/IFSP Meeting, except the designated school contact and family contact

  • Observing or meeting the student and/or family before the IEP/ARD Meeting

  • Designating any IEP/IFSP member's role or participation level

  • Judging what the IEP/IFSP Team decides                                                   ©Trisha Bergin-Lytton

          Rev. April 2015