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Early Resolution

Early resolution is an informal means for districts and parents to resolve issues at the local level. It is not uncommon for disagreements to occur between parents and school districts regarding a child's special education services. Those disagreements can often be resolved at the local level with open communication between the parties. The process of resolving disagreements at the local level can be a quick alternative to using a state-sponsored dispute resolution system, and can have the added benefit of improving communication between both parties in the future.​​

If an individual believes that a school district has not complied with the law or that a child's educational rights has been violated, the individual should try to resolve the issues with the local school district, through the following steps:

  • Communicating directly with the school staff, principal, superintendent, or director of the special education cooperative.
  • Requesting an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting to discuss the issues with the IEP team.
  • Utilizing the following systems to resolve the areas of concern:

 State-Sponsored IEP Facilitation

IEP facilitation is a process that helps foster effective communication between parents and districts as they develop a mutually acceptable Individualized Education Program (IEP). This process may be used as a preventative measure in which a trained facilitator promotes whole team participation, acknowledging and addressing differing opinions in a respectful and neutral manner. IEP facilitation can improve relationships between school districts and parents in order to effectively plan services to meet the needs of the student.

 State-Sponsored Mediation

​​Illinois' mediation service is designed as a means of resolving disagreements regarding special education services, placement and related services to children enrolled in Illinois public schools.

 Complaint Investigation Process


A complaint investigation is a formal process where a person submits a signed, written complaint alleging that the school district has violated one or more of the special education rules and regulations.​

 Due Process

Due process is a formal hearing that occurs if a parent (or occasionally a district) files a due process “complaint” requesting a due process hearing. The hearing may involve attorneys and advocates for each side and will result in a legally binding, written decision that can be appealed to a court of law.​

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