Skip to main content area Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Mediation of Special Education Disputes in Pennsylvania

November 07, 2013

Parents of children with disabilities have extensive interaction with school officials,
special education teachers, and school district administrators. With the assistance of
representatives from the school district, parents are expected to navigate the complexities of their
children’s special education services. Meeting with school officials and teachers can be an
intimidating experience: the use of technical jargon during meetings, multiple assessments from
different parties, and the multitude of placement options often leaves parents feeling
overwhelmed and unlikely to question what they are told.16 Communication difficulties are only
exacerbated when parents come from disadvantaged backgrounds and do not have the resources
to speak confidently about what they think is best for their child.17 Parents, who are often poor or
undereducated, may not even have Internet access to find online resources to build an adequate
knowledge base to assist them in conversations with school officials.18 Moreover, parents from
any socio-economic background may lack the emotional wherewithal to speak to school officials
about their child’s needs.