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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

​​​​​​​​​​​What is ADR?​

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a process for resolving special education conflicts in a respectful, neutral environment, offered at no cost. The goal of ADR is that families and districts work together to create solutions to benefit the student. A facilitator trained in ADR guides the team, maintains open ​communication, and ensures everyone's full participation.

​​​​Who Should Choose ADR?​

ADR is designed for families and districts who want to work together and preserve their relationship for the benefit of the child. In ADR, a family does not have to hire an advocate or an attorney in order to have a voice in resolving conflict.

​​​​Why Choose ADR?

ADR keeps the decision-making in the hands of the family and the district. Special education agreements are more effective when families and schools develop their own solutions rather than abide by an agreement imposed by a third party.​

​​Legal Protections

Participation in the ADR process is completely voluntary and does not prevent any future use of the more traditional due process procedures, which can be initiated at any time.​


Because each situation is unique, each ADR session will be customized to address the specific interests at hand. Decisions about the participants, location, and appropriate process will be determined based on the individual situation and with input from all parties.

​​​Available Services For Both Families and Districts

1. Phone Consultation
Speak with an individual who is knowledgeable in special education programming and practices, that can help clarify a concern and identify informal ways of addressing it.

2. SELPA Collaborative Conference
Prepare for an upcoming meeting by identifying information to be considered, data to bring, and questions to ask.

3. SELPA Facilitated IEP Meeting
Conducted by a neutral SELPA facilitator who guides the development of the IEP through effective and respectful communication.

4. SELPA Level Mediation (not part of Due Process)
Conducted by a neutral SELPA facilitator who uses communication, collaboration, negotiation and
mediation to produce an agreement that meets the interests of the parties involved.

If you are interested in learning more about these services, please contact the North Orange County SELPA office at 714-641-5400. 

Click on the links below to view our North Orange County SELPA ADR brochure: