Comments: Convening for Enhanced Self-Determination and Access to the Process

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Linda Gryczan, Helena MT   11/10/10
I like the questions in this article, and will use them with my future clients with and without disabilities. I have recently had two mediations with clients with disabilities. In both cases, money was an issue & the clients could not afford extra meetings described in this article. In one case, one of the parties spoke very well during the telephone intake, but I realized during our first meeting that this person had some form of mental illness that impacted ability to communicate. I found this person an advocate and got permission from both parties, to discuss their case with the advocate. In the second, I had two clients with differing levels of intellectual disabilities. One could not read. I arranged for both to come to mediation with counselors they worked with through their social services. In both instances, I did a fair amount of telephone caucus because one or both parties had difficulty communicating clearly. Sometimes I could only understand what they wanted by speaking with the advocate who understood the bigger picture, and the social services regulations that did not allow some agreements. I will be referring to this article again when these situations come up in my practice. Linda Gryczan Mediation Works