click here to link to the Massachusetts DESE Special Education Appeals page

Accepting 8 new cases for the 2014 - 2015 School Year
Cases can typically begin within 1-2 weeks or sooner
Great track record of helping parents & schools agree on appropriate FAPE and LRE services for the child!

About SpedEx

The SpedEx Program is: a dispute resolution option that is available in certain cases after an IEP has been rejected or a hearing request has been filed. It (a) is designed to assure that a child receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE); (b) is voluntary and will build trust between parents and schools; (c) is expedient; (d) provides a jointly agreed-upon independent SpedEx consultant to review evidence and advise the parties on FAPE and LRE so they may resolve their dispute. The consultant is chosen from a list maintained by the Spedex Administrator and available for review here: Consultants

The independent SpedEx consultant can assist parties to determine the program the child needs to assure a FAPE in the LRE. The parties are not bound by the consultant's report and recommendation. If the parties agree to the SpedEx recommendation, the dispute is considered resolved. Upon agreement the child is placed in the program recommended by the consultant and the SpedEx consultant observes the child in the program to observe whether the signed IEP is being implemented. If the parties do not agree with the SpedEx recommendation, the parties may pursue their due process rights.

Key features:

  1. Use of an independent, neutral, educational SpedEx consultant jointly agreed-upon by parent and school whose fee will be paid by the DESE

  2. Placement of students by agreement within 30 days, with post-placement observation by SpedEx consultant

  3. Decisions made through joint school-family knowledge and cooperation

  4. DESE has solicited and selected an administrator of the SpedEx Program, Dr. David Scanlon, Associate Professor of Special Education at Boston College. Professor Scanlon maintains schedules, contracts with the SpedEx consultants, conducts satisfaction surveys, and develops data to assess the efficacy of the pilot project.


The following questions will assist you in determining whether SpedEx may be appropriate for your circumstances.

If your answer to either of these questions is "yes," the next step would be to propose the possibility of using SpedEx to the other party (either the school or the parent.) If both parties are interested in pursuing the possibility, then contact Dr. David Scanlon, SpedEx Administrator, at

Are the school district and the parent:

  1. 1.Disputing whether the district's proposed IEP offers a FAPE in the LRE?

  2. 2.Disputing what services the child needs in order to receive a FAPE in the LRE?

SpedEx is an on-going experimental project, with limited funding (eight cases) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Requests for this option after an IEP has been rejected or a hearing request has been filed will generally be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Dr. Scanlon reserves the right to reject applications that are not consistent with the pilot objectives.

Typical SpedEx Timeline

After an IEP has been rejected or a hearing request filed...

  1. 1.Inquire to the SpedEx administrator as to whether the case may be appropriate for SpedEx.

  2. 2.Ask the other party (parent or school) to agree to engage the SpedEx dispute resolution process.

  3. 3.Parties jointly select 1-3 SpedEx consultants, in order of preference, they will agree to review the case. (First choice may not always be available.) Notify the SpedEx administrator.

  4. 4.SpedEx administrator contracts with one consultant to review the case. Parties are notified.

  5. 5.School administrator facilitates permissions for consultant to enter school facilities, access student records, observe, and interview appropriate school staff.

  6. 6.Consultant then has approximately 30 school days to interview parties, which may include the child, observe, review relevant documents, and prepare a report advising the parties on FAPE and LRE to resolve their dispute.

  7. 7.Following delivery of the report to the parties by the SpedEx administrator, parties agree to adopt the consultant's recommendations and then sign an IEP reflecting their agreement (suggested: agreement decision made within 10 days), with placement of the child within 30 days.

            If they reject the consultant's recommendations they may pursue their due process rights.

  1. 8.Regardless of the parties' decision, the SpedEx consultant's report becomes part of the child's permanent record.

  2. 9.If the SpedEx consultant's recommendations are adopted, parties may request the consultant to make a follow-up observation within 30 days of placement.

  3. 10.At the conclusion of the SpedEx process, the SpedEx administrator contacts both parties to solicit their opinions on the SpedEx process.

You may consult the SpedEx administrator at any stage of the process.

Please direct any questions to: Dr. David Scanlon at

Download a pdf brochure that outlines the SpedEx process:


SpedEx Consultant Disclosures and Limitations Policy

The SpedEx Consultant shall not communicate with or work with the parent, student, school district, advocate, or other parties involved in a case for one full year from the time the SpedEx process is completed, with the exception that the Consultant and any party may participate in a different SpedEx case(s) about a different student with any of the parties during that time. 

In the event the Consultant and any party on a pending SpedEx case worked together within the last year, they shall notify the other parties of this before finalizing selection of a Consultant.  This notification requirement applies whether the Consultant worked with a party on a separate matter or a SpedEx case in that year.

Effective 9/12/14  The above policy is being instituted for the first time during the 2014-2015 school year. We are interested to hear from you about its effectiveness. We will review it by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.


SpedEx Consultants

Applications to be added to the list of SpedEx consultants will be accepted throughout the life of the pilot project. Persons who may wish to be included on the list of SpedEx consultants must have at least a Master's Degree and five years experience in their field of expertise. In addition, a SpedEx consultant must (a) hold the appropriate license or certification in their area of special education expertise; (b) demonstrate an understanding of the current FAPE - a free appropriate public education - and LRE - least restrictive environment standards; (c) be prepared to review and recommend programs that support students by providing FAPE in the LRE; (d) write a report of those recommendations to be used by the parties and be placed in the student record; (e) be able to maintain neutrality and work within 30 school days to gather necessary information from all parties and provide them with information to execute a decision; (e) seek to promote decision making through cooperation and trust between schools and parents; and (f) be willing and able to follow up agreements with an on-site visit to the child in the agreed-upon program. 

Following initial inquiry to the SpedEx Administrator, applicants must submit a resume and two letters of recommendation from professionals in the field of education attesting to qualifications in all of the above areas.  Selection to serve as a Consultant decisions are at the discretion of the SpedEx Administrator.

Last updated: September 12, 2014