The Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System helps parents and schools work together to resolve disputes about special education.
We do not provide legal advice or advocacy for either parents or districts, and we do not mediate 504 plan disputes.

What are the differences between IEP facilitation and mediation?

  • In facilitation, the facilitator helps with the meeting process and helps prevent the conflict from growing. In mediation, the mediator helps parties work towards resolving specific disputes.
  • In facilitation, the facilitator usually works with the parties before they have reached an impasse when the discussion is difficult and complex. In mediation, the mediator works with the parties after they have reached an impasse.
  • In facilitation, the facilitator has a 3-hour time limit to spend with the parties. In mediation, the mediator has no time limit for how long they can spend with the parties.
  • In facilitation, the facilitator assists with communication in developing the IEP. In mediation, the mediator assists in trying to resolve underlying issues and emotions.
  • In facilitation, the IEP process determines the meeting agenda. In mediation, the mediator helps the parties create an agenda.
  • In facilitation, the outcome is the IEP is either revised or completed or not. In mediation, the outcome can be a written agreement that resolves the dispute and is a legally binding contract in state and federal court or no written agreement.
  • Unlike mediation, the IEP facilitation process is not confidential.
  • In facilitation, the entire team usually stays together for the meeting. In mediation, the entire group can work together but the mediator may work separately with specific parties (caucus) at times during the process.

    Contact WSEMS

    Email: diana@wsems.us
    888-298-3857 (Toll Free Voice)
    608-283-9106 (Fax)

    WSEMS
    PO Box 829
    Madison WI 53701-0829