Families of children with disabilities often need to come to the table with professionals to address planning for their children’s needs. Sometimes there is conflict. Conflict is a natural part of any relationship and can serve to better communication when addressed properly. Building and maintaining good relationships between parents and professionals up front help keep expensive, adversarial processes to a minimum. Most importantly, doing so maintains the focus on the needs of the child. ASK’s Dispute Resolution Training project focuses on building and maintaining solid foundations for relationships, and on providing options to support conflict resolution at the earliest stages possible.
This project is supported with funding from the Iowa Department of Education, Great Prairie Education Agency, the PTI grant, and through private donations. Three trainings are available statewide through this program. The most widely sought after is called RESPECT, which is available to all individuals, family members and professionals alike, who serve on Individual Education Program (IEP) teams, treatment planning teams, and/or behavior planning teams. The other two courses offered, Introduction to Mediation and Advanced Mediation, are specific to learning to be an Iowa Department of Education Mediator or a Resolution Facilitation Coordinator in school or Area Education Agency (AEA) setting.
The impact data shows RESPECT is significantly successful in training how to build relationships and resolve conflict, so we are committed to bringing the courses to as many people in as many settings as possible.