When you find yourself in a disagreement with your child’s IEP team, it’s helpful to know how to approach potential conflict with a collaborative, open mind.
You can start by calling the Matrix Helpline, (800) 578-2592 to go over you concerns with a Parent Advisor. We’ll help you to gain perspective and take a look at your options. We’ll also help you check your facts and choose your battles wisely. To learn more, read our packet on Resolving Disagreements.
You might want to access Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services provided to parents by SELPAs (Special Education Local Plan Areas). Read more below about resources and/or free services offered by the SELPA ADR in your county. There is also information about ADR from the statewide California SELPA Association. Today, there are 136 SELPAs in California!
Check out the bilingual resources for Alternative Dispute Resolution on the Marin County SELPA website. The SELPA ADR Coordinator listens to your concerns and helps you set up a process The SELPA ADR Coordinator listens to your concerns, helps you identify your interests. The SELPA ADR Coordinator listens to your concerns, helps you identify your interests and identifies a process to help, coordinates meetings, and monitors ADR Activities.. Contact the Marin County SELPA at 415.499.5850 and ask to speak to the ADR Coordinator.
SOLANO COUNTY (to top)
Access Solano County ADR program resources on their website. Their program includes:
- Training for parents and educators in effective communication and collaboration skills
- Providing an Independent Resource Parent for parents to contact to receive individual support
- Facilitating IEP meetings
- Assisting in Resolution Session meetings prior to a due process hearing
- Conducting informal mediation session
To get help, call the Solano County ADR Helpline (707) 399-4469
SONOMA COUNTY (to top)
Sonoma County SELPA ADR Program
Read about the Sonoma County SELPA ADR Program on their website. The Sonoma County SELPA will facilitate an Alternative Dispute Resolution process to help resolve conflicts between schools and families with children in special education. The program serves the families of all children in special education within Sonoma County.
Article below written by Mike Toby of Sonoma County SELPA Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program.
Sonoma County SELPA facilitates an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program. This resource is available to help resolve conflicts between schools and families with children in special education. The program serves the families of all children in special education within Sonoma County.
Major components of the program include:
- Phone Mediation
- Facilitated IEP Meetings
- The Independent Child Advocate
- Bilingual language (Spanish) support is available as part of the ADR program.
The Sonoma County SELPA ADR Program involves everything from training educators in effective communication and negotiation skills to referring parents and schools to an Independent Child Advocate (ICA) employed by Social Advocates for Youth (SAY). The ICA is a neutral ombudsperson trained in ADR and is knowledgeable about special education law and programs. The ICA can be assigned by a SELPA Program Specialist when a parent or guardian needs additional support outside of the IEP process or to difficult cases where relationships are at risk and communication is limited. Mike Toby and Claudia Levia are the current ICA’s,
The Sonoma County SELPA has had a very strong success rate of preventing conflicts from going to due process hearings at the state level. The intent of this program is to maintain positive relationships between the student’s family and the school as well as to save time and money for both parties.
The program is easy to access, by contacting the Sonoma SELPA ADR helpline (707-524-2785). This will start the process with a SELPA Program Specialist. More information about ADR and the ADR staff is available on the Sonoma County SELPA ADR website. www.sonomaselpa.org/adr.
Claudia Leiva has worked as a Bilingual ICA since June 2021. She has a background in education and has been involved in different capacities with community programs and organizations such as AVANCE, ELI, and First Five Sonoma County. Claudia’s experience as an educator, trainer, parent support specialist, and early intervention specialist inspires and informs her work with the Spanish-speaking community inside and outside of the classroom.
Mike Toby has served as an ICA since 2020. He previously worked for Matrix Parent Network, and served on the Sonoma County Community Advisory Committee board. He is the parent to two wonderful young adults, one of whom has special needs. He is also a life-long learner and passionate about post-education living/ housing for individuals with disabilities. He is committed to serving the special needs community and resolving IEP disputes.