Article

Reconceptualizing Family-Professional Partnership for Inclusive Schools: A Call to Action

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Abstract

Despite the documented link between the presence of family-professional partnership and successful inclusion in schools, these trusting relationships are more of an exception than a reality. We demonstrate the need for a framework to organize research, policy, and practice on family-professional partnership; describe a contemporary framework, the Sunshine Model, that relies on a tiered and multidimensional approach to ensure family-professional partnership with all families; and illustrate how this framework can guide research, policy, and practice in family-professional partnership in inclusive schools.

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... Participants reported that relationships with school personnel outside of school impacted their experiences with advocacy. This finding is important, given that advocacy studies mainly focus on family-professional partnerships within schools (Haines et al., 2017), not in the community. Advocacy is a central tenet of family-school partnerships (Haines et al., 2017); however, the nature of the advocacy may hurt (Shapiro et al., 2004) or help (Hess et al., 2006;Trainor, 2010) the partnership. ...
... This finding is important, given that advocacy studies mainly focus on family-professional partnerships within schools (Haines et al., 2017), not in the community. Advocacy is a central tenet of family-school partnerships (Haines et al., 2017); however, the nature of the advocacy may hurt (Shapiro et al., 2004) or help (Hess et al., 2006;Trainor, 2010) the partnership. The former is especially poignant among rural families who see professionals in the community. ...
... Specifically, special education directors and teachers may want to collaborate with their colleagues in rural districts to understand how they can foster strong partnerships with families. Notably, frequent communication between home and school is necessary for positive family-school partnerships (Haines et al., 2017). Thus, practitioners may consider making the special education process more transparent and accessible for rural families. ...
Article
Parent advocacy is an essential component to help children with disabilities receive appropriate school services. However, there are limited studies about parent advocacy for children with disabilities living in rural areas. To address this issue, semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 parents of children with disabilities. The purpose of the study was to identify and define unique barriers and facilitators to advocacy among families of children with disabilities living in rural areas. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the interview data. The findings suggest that families living in rural areas lack the necessary resources to advocate successfully for their children with disabilities. Notably, participants expressed that advocating and maintaining relationships with school personnel took an emotional toll. Participants also reported that relationships with school personnel outside of school impacted their experiences with advocacy. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
... Some research has found that advocacy may facilitate more positive family-school partnerships (Goldman et al., in press) whereas other studies have found that advocacy may facilitate negative family-school partnerships (Burke & Hodapp, 2016). It is important to understand the pattern between positive and negative advocacy and family-school partnerships as the bulk of research demonstrates that strong family-school partnerships improves student outcomes (Haines et al., 2017). Also, it is important to explore how advocacy may effect future parent advocacy efforts. ...
... Notably, some of the advocacy process reflected broader family involvement constructs. For example, "communication" is a principle of family-professional partnerships in the special education literature (Haines et al., 2017;Summers et al., 2007) and the general education literature (Epstein, 2001). Other aspects of the advocacy process (e.g., documenting a paper trail, conducting research) are more consistent with advocacy steps (Burke & Hodapp, 2016;Trainor, 2010). ...
... Future research needs to more closely examine the relation between these two constructs. Further, given that there are many principles of familyprofessional partnerships (e.g., respect, communication, commitment, professional competence, trust, equality, and advocacy, Haines et al., 2017), it may be that future research needs to consider all of the principles of partnerships (not only advocacy) to truly understand the circumstances and conditions under which advocacy may promote or hinder partnerships. ...
Article
Advocacy is often an expectation for parents of children with disabilities. However, little is known about the process and products (i.e., outcomes) of parent advocacy experiences. Without understanding parent perceptions of their advocacy experiences, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of parent advocacy. To this end, the purpose of this study was to explore positive (i.e., successful) and negative (i.e., unsuccessful) advocacy experiences of parents of children with disabilities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 43 parents of children with disabilities. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the interview data. The advocacy process was the same regardless of whether the advocacy experience was positive or negative. Participants reported positive advocacy experiences reinforced future advocacy efforts whereas negative advocacy experiences had mixed effects on their future advocacy. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
... The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) guarantees families the right to equal and shared decision-making regarding the services and placement of their child in special education. Home-school partnerships are a central tenet to special education practice with the understanding that parents are treated as full partners (Haines et al., 2017). Research suggests family and school partnerships are an essential practice for children's academic and social success (Bryan & Henry, 2012;Olivos et al., 2010), specifically for children with disabilities (Blue-Banning et al., 2004). ...
... Yet, research with Latinx parents also identifies two-way communication, caring relationships with teachers, and opportunities for positive advocacy as facilitators to collaborative partnerships and increased parent satisfaction (Alvarez McHatton & Correa, 2005). Some studies suggest there are school policies and practices that facilitate successful home-school partnerships (Haines et al., 2017). Teachers and parents' perceptions shape their attitudes and impact their behaviors. ...
... Family-school partnerships and active family engagement are essential components to positive outcomes for students with disabilities in public and private settings (Haines, 2017: Boyle & Hernandez, 2016. Given the limited examples of homeschool partnerships in Catholic school settings, specifically with Latinx parents of children with disabilities, the purpose of this study was to illustrate how five Latina mothers and five teachers engaged in collaborative relationships in a parochial setting. ...
Article
Full-text available
Teacher-parent relationships and active family engagement are essential components to positive outcomes for students with disabilities. Latinx students are an increasingly growing student population; however, there are limited studies about the experiences unique to Latinx parents concerning family engagement and home-school partnerships in public schools, and no studies about Catholic schools. To address this gap, focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with five Latina mothers of children with disabilities and five teachers in a Catholic school. The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) identify barriers and facilitators to successful home-school partnerships between Latina mothers with children with disabilities and their teachers in a Catholic setting and 2) examine the role of family engagement in the formation of the home-school partnerships. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the data. There were two main findings. First, parents actively engaged in school events and home-school partnerships when opportunities for reciprocal relationships were present. Second, mothers and teachers participated in reciprocal and equitable home-school partnerships fostered through frequent, two-way communication, home-school updates, shared strategies and supports, and mutual respect for one another’s expertise. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
... 161). FPPs are different from the concepts of "family involvement" and "family engagement" in that the term emphasizes reciprocal relationships between educational professionals and families as well as the families' role in collaborating on decisions related to their children's education (Haines et al., 2017). Research shows that FPPs lead to positive outcomes for students, educators, families, and communities (Francis et al., 2016). ...
... Despite the policies and research highlighting the need for FPPs, they are often not prevalent (Blackwell & Rossetti, 2014;Haines et al., 2015a;Harry, 2008;LaRocque et al., 2011). Some barriers to the realization of FPPs include varying conceptualizations of family-professional partnership (Haines et al., 2015a(Haines et al., , 2017Lawson, 2003), a dearth of trust between families and educators (Harry, 2008;LaRocque et al., 2011;Mapp & Hong, 2010), and competing demands on educator time (Haines et al., 2015b). Despite the importance of FPPs with refugee families, there is a lack of research on factors related to FPPs with this diverse population specifically (Haines et al., 2018). ...
... Among the numerous systematic barriers to forming strong partnerships noted by participants in this study, adequate time, access to liaisons, and bureaucratic hurdles could be ameliorated by systematic school reform focused on reconceptualizing FPPs. Schools must center FPPs as critical to all teachers' responsibilities (Epstein & Sanders, 2006;Haines et al., 2017;Kyzar et al., 2019). A concrete step administrators can take is to make adequate space in teachers' workloads. ...
Article
Family-professional partnerships are linked to student success, yet little research has explored the nuances of such partnerships with refugee families new to the U.S. school system. To explore this phenomenon, we conducted an embedded case study through which we qualitatively examined the family-professional partnerships between 10 newly resettled refugee families of adolescents and their children’s teachers in the U.S. We found a lack of meaningful relationships among the participating families and teachers and identified many factors that affected family-professional partnerships with refugee families, including (a) assumptions teachers and families held about each other, (b) communication challenges, and (c) different perceptions of student achievement and progress. Using the equity literacy framework, we convert our findings to implications for practice, including school systems’ prioritization of family partnership with refugee families, and implications for research, including the replication of this study with more families across a longer timeframe and researching promising techniques to build stronger relationships.
... Moreover, the consistent advocacy required of participants becomes more apparent when contrasted with the involvement of parents of children without disabilities, which is typically measured by attendance at singular events (e.g., open house) and learning activities at home or in the community (Oswald et al., 2018). Indeed, families of children with disabilities (compared with families of children without disabilities) are more involved in securing educational services that should be provided without such advocacy (Haines et al., 2017;Welchons & McIntyre, 2015). ...
... FPPs can mediate parents' need to engage in advocacy because families may not feel the need to "fight" for services when working in unison with professionals (Goldman & Burke, 2017;Turnbull et al., 2015). The development of FPPs that collectively empower families and school personnel requires guidelines to proactively structure family-professional interactions and remain focused on children's needs (e.g., the sunshine model; Haines et al., 2017). Notably, Yosso's (2005) community cultural wealth framework provides a model for school personnel to value families' capital as they partner with them. ...
... Principals and other school leaders can foster inclusive schools by explicitly addressing the intersectionality of race and disability (Annamma et al., 2013). Finally, educators must be prepared to enact these changes; thus teacher preparation should include methods for developing FPPs (Haines et al., 2017) and cultural responsiveness (Harry, 2008). ...
Article
Although the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) mandates parent participation in their children’s education programs, the implementation of IDEA results in parent effort beyond participation, specifically, an expectation of advocacy. To date, research on the advocacy expectation is mixed, with some parents perceiving advocacy as an obligation to ensure appropriate services for their children, whereas others argue it is unreasonable and has cultural dissonance, disadvantaging some parents. We examined parent perspectives of the advocacy expectation in special education through 19 focus groups with 127 parents of children with disabilities across four states. Findings included a nuanced understanding of the advocacy expectation, with participants reporting the importance of advocacy and some describing that advocacy was part of their social role. However, under adversarial circumstances with school personnel, participants described feeling overwhelmed because the advocacy expectation felt more difficult than it needed to be. We discuss implications for policy and practice.
... Thus, high-quality family-school communication is often unfulfilled for Spanishspeaking parents of children with disabilities (Cheatham and Lim-Mullins 2018). While considering these barriers, research has confirmed that frequent and positive parentschool communication produces strong family-professional partnerships for both English-and Spanish-speaking families (Haines et al. 2017). This study echoes the notion that strong parent-school communication is essential for the services children with disabilities receive (Haines et al. 2017). ...
... While considering these barriers, research has confirmed that frequent and positive parentschool communication produces strong family-professional partnerships for both English-and Spanish-speaking families (Haines et al. 2017). This study echoes the notion that strong parent-school communication is essential for the services children with disabilities receive (Haines et al. 2017). Thus, frequent and positive parent-school communication benefits both English-and Spanish-speaking families of children with disabilities. ...
... These findings are complimentary to previous research which has also found that English-and Spanish-speaking families want improved services for their children (Angell and Solomon 2017;Burke et al. 2018) and more frequent communication with the school (Angell and Solomon 2017;Francis et al. 2018). Regarding the latter, research has confirmed that frequent and honest parent-school communication is a pillar of strong familyprofessional partnerships (Haines et al. 2017). Considered altogether, interventions, policy, and research need to address the experiences of families, including improving access to services and parent-school communication. ...
Article
Full-text available
Due to systemic barriers, Spanish-speaking (versus English-speaking) parents of children with disabilities are less likely to participate in educational decision-making. However, little research has directly compared special education experiences between both populations. The purpose of this study was to explore the differences and similarities between Spanish-speaking (n = 12) and English-speaking (n = 44) parents of children with disabilities. Specifically, six focus groups were conducted in either English or Spanish in two states. There were three main findings: exacerbated negative experiences (e.g., disempowerment and lack of teacher knowledge) for Spanish-speaking (versus English-speaking) parents, unique communication barriers among Spanish-speaking families and shared barriers among English- and Spanish-speaking parents. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
... These familyprofessional partnerships (FPPs) are based on trust and characterized by communication, professional competence, commitment, advocacy, respect, and equality (Blue-Banning et al., 2004;Turnbull et al., 2015). Through FPPs, families and teachers collaborate to (a) determine and address student needs; (b) obtain services and supports; (c) monitor services and supports; (d) connect home, school, and community; and (e) advocate for systems improvement (Haines et al., 2017). ...
... ESSA calls for "parent and family engagement," which includes engagement in parent-teacher conferences, shared responsibility for their children's academic success, and opportunities to jointly develop school policies (Francis et al., 2020). In addition to policy mandates, research conducted in the U.S. shows that FPPs are associated with inclusive school culture (Francis et al., 2016;Author, 2008), family well-being (Burke & Hodapp, 2014), parental advocacy (Burke & Hodapp, 2016), more efficacious teacher instructional techniques (Francis et al., 2013), and greater instances of academic achievement (Haines et al., 2017;Henderson & Mapp, 2002), and positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities such as competitive employment (Francis et al., 2013). ...
... Moreover, a singular focus on compliance with IDEA and ESSA innovative approaches to FPP (U.S. Department of Education, 2015), especially since neither law clarifies strategies for and the extent to which FPPs should occur (Haines et al., 2017;Francis et al., 2020;Wolfe & Dur an, 2013). FPP is complex, and teachers must understand its importance while also exercising skills to responsively foster strong relationships with the families they serve. ...
... It is, therefore, of utmost importance to train special education teachers to cooperate with and be open to parent involvement in the school (Murray, Mereoiu, and Handyside 2013). Seven principles comprise the foundations of a good partnership between parents of children with disabilities and the teacher: communication, respect, professionalism, commitment, equality, explanation and trust (Haines et al. 2017;Turnbull and Turnbull 2017). The relationship between parents of children with disabilities and the teacher based on these principles can later on develop into actions such as defining the needs of the pupil, and this can help in connecting the school, community and home. ...
... The parental relationship must be based on trust and mutual respect for the communication and the relationship to be optimal. Developing mutual trust is the way to form a good relationship, safe communication and cooperation between the parents and the teachers (Haines et al. 2017). ...
Article
The purpose of this research is to study the relationship between parents of pupils with multiple disabilities and their teachers. This, in order to understand the needs for special education teacher training programmes as these are perceived by the teachers who experienced an abrupt transition to distance learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research combines both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The data was collected through an online questionnaire which included open and closed questions. The closed questions were analysed through frequency mapping and percentages and the open questions were analysed through content analysis method. The participants of the research were 48 teachers from schools for pupils with multiple disabilities who were teaching via distance learning during the 2019–2020 school year at the time of the first lockdown. Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of three main themes: (1) Factors challenging the cooperation between parents and the teachers; (2) supportive needs of parents; (3) Recommendations for training of teachers. There is no doubt that the teachers’ toolbox must encompass two central aspects: First is the inclusion of hands-on digital experience in the teachers’ training. The second includes the incorporation of skills focusing involving parents when teaching via distance learning; that is, training parents how to use the assistive technology during distance learning.
... Quality family-school partnerships are trusting and reciprocal, and value parent input (Francis et al., 2016;Haines et al., 2017). Further, equitable and intentional family-school partnerships provide opportunities for cooperation, creativity, and choice in decision-making processes (Haines et al., 2015). ...
... As schools embrace this perspective shift, they would support parents by sharing child-specific resources and knowledge and be open to what the parent has to offer (Francis et al., 2016;Stoner et al., 2005). To share and cultivate knowledge and resources bidirectionally, school personnel must make shifts in their values and perspectives of parents as educators and equitable partners (Haines et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Family-school partnerships between family members and school personnel can be successful as well as unproductive for parents who have children and youth with developmental disabilities (DD). This qualitative study sought to capture parents’ identities as they negotiated family-school partnerships when making inclusive education decisions and discussing special education service-delivery options for their children and youth with DD. Seventeen participants shared their personal narratives in interviews and focus groups. Data were thematically analyzed after an initial round of open-coding generated broad themes. Findings revealed that the experiences parents have in partnering with schools span an identity spectrum, including (a) victim, (b) advocate, (c) perseverer, (d) educator, (e) broker and negotiator, and (f) surrenderer. Implications for policy, practice, and research focus on parent identity and family-school partnerships.
... There has been significant literature, however, on family-professional partnerships in higher income contexts. For example, researchers have identified family-professional partnerships as integral to advancing collaborations and building strong positive relationships between families and professionals in inclusive schools (Dunst and Dempsey, 2007;Haines, Francis, Mueller, et al., 2017;Turnbull, Turnbull and Kyzar, 2009). Haines, Francis, Mueller, et al. (2017) have called for action to develop partnerships between family members (not just parents) and professionals, building on each other's expertise and resources for collective empowerment and decisions that benefit students, family members and professionals. ...
... For example, researchers have identified family-professional partnerships as integral to advancing collaborations and building strong positive relationships between families and professionals in inclusive schools (Dunst and Dempsey, 2007;Haines, Francis, Mueller, et al., 2017;Turnbull, Turnbull and Kyzar, 2009). Haines, Francis, Mueller, et al. (2017) have called for action to develop partnerships between family members (not just parents) and professionals, building on each other's expertise and resources for collective empowerment and decisions that benefit students, family members and professionals. Future research might be directed towards an exploration of the relevance and utility of existing family-professional partnerships literature and frameworks for inclusion in low-and middle-income countries such as Ghana. ...
Article
Although inclusive education is the best form of education for all children including those with disabilities, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in developing contexts such as Ghana are often educated in segregated settings or institutionalised. An understanding of teachers’ experiences with children with IDD in inclusion can inform strategies for more effective inclusive systems for children with IDD. We analysed the interview data from 16 general and two special educators who teach children with IDD. Participants shared their positive and negative experiences of educating children with IDD in inclusive schools in Accra, Ghana. Participants also shared their suggestions of classroom practices and learning strategies that might further facilitate inclusion of children with IDD in Ghana in the future. Identifying and addressing factors accounting for participants’ negative experiences while supporting and encouraging positive experiences may create more conducive spaces for accommodation of diversity and improvement of outcomes for children with IDD.
... A necessary step in narrowing the gap between the vision of familyprofessional partnerships articulated in policy and the reality of the field is to use a framework to guide research, policy, and practice. Haines et al. (2017) created the Sunshine Model for this purpose (see Fig. 1). ...
... The sun in the middle of the figure represents the power families and professionals have when they work together in all settings. This "solar power" (Turnbull & Turnbull, 2017) enables growth, warmth, and sustainability for all involved, helping foster the growth of the focal people as well as those who support them. The Sunshine Model aims to strengthen family-professional partnerships to foster collective power, trust, and reciprocity between families and professionals. ...
Chapter
Research demonstrates the positive impact of family-professional partnerships on student and family outcomes. Despite the importance of family-professional partnerships, however, research on such partnerships with refugee families of children with disabilities has been largely absent from the research literature. The aim of this article is to review existing research regarding building and maintaining partnerships between refugee families and school professionals for refugees who have been resettled to host countries, or countries that grant refugees legal status as permanent residents. We discuss implications for U.S. educational systems and offer recommendations for future research.
... A necessary step in narrowing the gap between the vision of familyprofessional partnerships articulated in policy and the reality of the field is to use a framework to guide research, policy, and practice. Haines et al. (2017) created the Sunshine Model for this purpose (see Fig. 1). ...
... The sun in the middle of the figure represents the power families and professionals have when they work together in all settings. This "solar power" (Turnbull & Turnbull, 2017) enables growth, warmth, and sustainability for all involved, helping foster the growth of the focal people as well as those who support them. The Sunshine Model aims to strengthen family-professional partnerships to foster collective power, trust, and reciprocity between families and professionals. ...
Chapter
Given the important roles of family caregivers and the likelihood that individuals with IDD will live in their family homes into adulthood, it is crucial to examine adult service delivery systems within the context of families of individuals with IDD. In this manuscript, we aim to describe the adult service delivery system, specifically with respect to HCBS Medicaid waiver in the United States, and its relation to the contexts and implications of family caregivers for adults with IDD. We begin by providing a history of adult services; then, we shift our focus to community-based support. Next, we discuss the theoretical framework, Family Systems Theory. Then, we describe the contexts and implications of family caregivers. We conclude with directions for future research, practice, and policy. Because this manuscript highlights the complicated nature of adult services, we provide a description and list of the relevant acronyms in Table 1.
... When the literature is scrutinized, it was noticed that most papers were generally interested in the problems and stress levels of families with children with special needs and their expectations (Haines et al., 2017;Kyzar, Mueller, Grace, & Haines, 2019;Lazerevic & Kopas-Vukašinović, 2014;Mueller & Vick, 2019;Schuh et. al., 2015;Shriberg, 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
This descriptive survey study investigates the perceptions of families with special needs children regarding the teachers, school communication and cooperation in terms of teachers' sex, age, education, professional formation, and experience. 276 parents whose children benefit from special education services in a special education and rehabilitation centre in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul province participated to the study. Demographic information form and family-teacher communication and cooperation scale were employed to gather data. Findings revealed that the teacher-school communication and expectations of families with special needs children were quite high. Their perception of cooperating with the teacher was also high, while their participation in "communication and cooperation" was found to be at a medium level. In the study, significant differences were obtained in terms of communication, expectations, and collaborations with teachers' age, gender, occupation, and parents' marital status. Moreover, as the parents' education level increased, their perceptions and opinions regarding schoolteacher communication and cooperation demonstrated more positive distribution. It was revealed that parents whose monthly household income was 5000 TL and below had higher and positive views towards family-teacher communication. Lastly, significant and positive relationships were found among parents' family-teacher communication, cooperation, expectations, and participation.
... Positive, trusting partnerships are crucial for educational systems to function effectively and enable all stakeholders (e.g. children, parents, teachers, school administrators) to benefit (Francis et al., 2016a(Francis et al., , 2016bHaines et al., 2017 the children to explore their social environment, and can result in improved academic outcomes (i.e. grades, attendance), increased cooperative behaviour and lower dropout rates (Kurani et al., 2009;Goldman and Burke, 2017;Tuggar, 2019;Mantey, 2020). ...
Chapter
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The goal of this chapter is to assess research that can inform understandings of places and spaces of learning.The chapter assesses evidence across three types of learning spaces: built spaces, digital spaces, and natural spaces. It looks at the role of these different kinds of spaces for learning, attainment, interpersonal relationships, skills development, wellbeing and behaviours ‒ across four pillars of learning to know, to be, to do and to live together. The chapter also explores how learning spaces can be actively shaped, felt and understood through practices and policies that occur within and around them.
... Positive, trusting partnerships are crucial for educational systems to function effectively and enable all stakeholders (e.g. children, parents, teachers, school administrators) to benefit (Francis et al., 2016a(Francis et al., , 2016bHaines et al., 2017 the children to explore their social environment, and can result in improved academic outcomes (i.e. grades, attendance), increased cooperative behaviour and lower dropout rates (Kurani et al., 2009;Goldman and Burke, 2017;Tuggar, 2019;Mantey, 2020). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter assesses ways to identify and support children with learning disabilities. Learning disabilities affect many students and are seldom attributable to a single cause. They arise through complex interactions between biological and environmental factors within individual developmental trajectories. Early identification of children at risk for learning disabilities as well as adequate identification of children with learning disabilities are important for ensuring that children have access to the supports they need in order to reach their full potential. Here, we discuss identifying children’s learning needs and providing educational support. Although many school systems recognize the need to provide inclusive education to support all learners, more work is needed to raise awareness and enable adequate evidence-based early identification of children with learning disabilities and support their learning trajectories and instructional needs inside and outside of the classroom. It is also fundamental to acknowledge the importance of research on diverse populations that could inform identification and support in various countries and socio-cultural contexts.
... If there are strong family-professional partnerships, then professionals and families may engage in ongoing, honest communication. Because advocacy is a tenet of family-professional partnerships (Haines et al., 2017), advocacy would persist in these partnerships but advocacy may be more positive and less adversarial. ...
Article
Full-text available
Advocacy is often an expectation for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). However, little is known about how advocacy may impact parent well-being, including stress, family dynamics, and marital relationships. By exploring the effects of advocacy on well-being, interventions can be implemented to support both the advocacy and well-being of parents of children with IDD. To this end, the purpose of the study was to explore the pattern between positive and negative advocacy experiences of parents of children with IDD and the well-being of parents, families, and marriages. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 parents of children with IDD. Regardless of the nature (i.e., positive, or negative) of the advocacy experience, participants reported that advocacy increased their stress. When the advocacy experience was positive, some participants reported improved family quality of life. Also, regardless of the nature of the advocacy experience, some participants reported feeling frustration within their marital relationships. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
... Third, siblings need advocacy supports similar to parents of individuals with IDD. Similar to parents, siblings reported wanting: improved adult service delivery systems (Arnold et al., 2012), help with navigating service delivery systems (Arnold et al., 2012;Coyle et al., 2014;Holl & Morano, 2014), better family-professional partnerships (Haines et al., 2017), and access social capital (Burke, Arnold, et al., 2015;Burke, Fish, et al., 2015). Most frequently, siblings reported wanting improved adult service delivery systems. ...
Article
Siblings have the longest lasting familial relationship. When a disability is present, siblings fulfill unique roles for their brothers and sisters with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Given their roles, siblings want to be included in service planning; however, it is unclear the extent to which siblings are involved in service planning. The purpose of this study was to examine sibling involvement in service planning meetings. In this study, 422 siblings of individuals with IDD in the United States responded to a national, web‐based survey. Only 36% of siblings had attended a service planning meeting for their brother/sister with IDD. Further, sibling involvement was positively correlated with sibling age, advocacy, future planning activities, and less functional abilities of individuals with IDD. Siblings reported needing certain supports to better participate in service planning; an improved service delivery system, information about navigating adult services, family–professional partnerships, access to support from others, and logistical supports. In this study, siblings reported wanting more support to advocate for their brothers and sisters with IDD. To support these siblings, professionals need to encourage sibling attendance at service planning meetings and provide advocacy supports.
... These strategies included establishing a school philosophy and culture that embraces IE, maintaining high expectations for student progress, providing administrative support to teachers, engaging in professional development, collaboration among professionals, conducting comprehensive student evaluations, providing students accommodations and modifications, having paraprofessional support, and encouraging parent involvement. Many aspects of these practices reflect current literature on IE practices such as (a) a positive and welcoming inclusive school culture ; (b) high expectations for student progress (Southward & Kyzar, 2017); (c) supportive administrative personnel who maintain high expectations and establish an IE culture ; (d) professional development to assist all school staff address the needs of diverse students (García-Cedillo et al., 2014); (e) co-teaching and collaborating with paraprofessionals (Pancsofar & Petroff, 2016;Weiss & Lloyd, 2002); (f) engaging in data-based decision-making (Golloher, Whitenack, Simpson, & Sacco, 2018); (g) providing accommodations and modifications to students who need them (McCormick & Segal, 2016); and (h) valuing parent-professional relationships (Haines et al., 2017). Incorporating these practices into schools is a necessary first step in working toward positive outcomes associated with IE such as academic gains (Cologon, 2013;Spooner & Browder, 2015) and increased social engagement (Morningstar et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Inclusive education (IE) is globally recognized as instrumental in facilitating equity and quality education for all students. However, despite literature documenting positive outcomes associated with IE, IE definitions and strategies vary and are not well researched in countries such as Mexico that are in the early stages of adopting IE policies. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how professionals working at schools that identified themselves as “inclusive” in Mexico City, Mexico defined IE and implemented IE. Findings indicated that participants defined or described IE in several ways, including physical and educational access, socialization, personal development, equality among students, and a paradigm that requires constant reflection. Participants also described numerous IE strategies related to school culture, high expectations, administrative support, professional development, collaboration, student evaluation, accommodations and modifications, paraprofessional support, and parent involvement. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
... Finally, there is limited research about the relation between stress and parent empowerment. Defined as an effort to use knowledge and resources to create change, empowerment may have a strong relation with parent stress (Haines et al., 2017). Indeed, prior studies have suggested that empowerment mediated parent stress among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (Weiss, MacMullin, & Lunsky, 2015). ...
Article
Parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience a high degree of stress due to child (e.g., age and type of disability) and parent (e.g., self-mastery and optimism) characteristics. While research has demonstrated a link between parent and child characteristics and parent stress, less is known about the contribution to parent stress of school-related characteristics. The lack of focus on school characteristics is striking, given that many parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities struggle to access school services. To bridge this gap, our study identified child, parent, and school correlates of parent stress among 58 parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Results highlighted a negative correlation between stress and school characteristics, specifically: the quality of the family–school partnership; and family empowerment. Implications for research into parent stress and ways to reduce it are discussed.
... At the most basic level, the dimensions of family-professional partnerships (i.e. respect, communication, commitment, trust, advocacy, equity and professional skills, Haines et al. 2017) should be carefully measured in future studies to determine whether certain dimensions are most effected by advocacy training programmes. In addition, research should measure the culture of the school and the advocacy practices of the family, which could mediate the effect on family-school partnerships (Love et al. 2017). ...
Article
Background Internationally, it has been recognised that parents need to advocate for their children with disabilities to receive services. However, many parents find advocacy difficult because of systemic and logistical barriers. As such, parents of children with disabilities may seek a special education advocate to help them understand their child's rights and secure services. Yet little research has been conducted about programmes to develop special education advocates. Methods In this study, we conducted a comparison study to determine the association of an advocacy programme (i.e. the Volunteer Advocacy Project) on a primary outcome (i.e. special education knowledge) and other outcomes (i.e. family–school partnership, empowerment and parent well‐being). Specifically, in 2017, 34 participants, all mothers of children with disabilities, were recruited from disability organisations in the USA. Seventeen mothers participated in the intervention group (i.e. the advocacy training), while 17 mothers participated in the wait list control group. The Volunteer Advocacy Project is a 36 hr advocacy training for individuals to gain instrumental and affective knowledge to advocate for their own children with disabilities and for other families. All participants completed a pre‐survey and post‐survey; only intervention group participants completed a 6‐month follow‐up survey. Results Compared with 17 wait list control group participants, the 17 intervention group participants demonstrated improvements in special education knowledge, P = 0.002, η² = 0.32, and self‐mastery, P = 0.04, η² = 0.15, and decreases in the quality of family–school partnerships, P = 0.002, η² = 0.32. At the follow‐up survey, intervention group participants demonstrated increases in empowerment, P = 0.04, η² = 0.29, and special education knowledge, P = 0.02, η² = 0.38. Conclusions Implications for research including the need for a randomised controlled trial are discussed; also, practitioners need to evaluate advocacy training programmes regarding their effectiveness.
... In addition, practitioners should create strong, positive partnerships with families which may help increase parent empowerment. To do this, practitioners may refer to the Sunshine Model, which illustrates the six principles of family-school partnerships as well as activities for school professionals to fulfill each principle (Haines et al. 2017). For example, to enhance family-school communication, practitioners should consider identifying and addressing the family and child's needs. ...
Article
Compared to White families, Latino families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face systemic barriers when accessing services for their children. Although there is research about systemic barriers among Latino families, less is known about how Latino and White families differ with respect to special education knowledge, family–school partnerships, and empowerment—key traits to access services. In this study, we examined the differences between 44 White and 55 Latino families of children with ASD with respect to special education knowledge, family–school partnerships, and empowerment; we also examined the correlates of special education knowledge, family–school partnerships, and empowerment. Latino parents reported significantly less special education knowledge and less empowerment compared to White parents; notably, among Latino and White families of children with ASD, there was a significant, positive correlation between empowerment and family–school partnerships. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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Researchers have long documented the importance of parent participation in the development and success of children in schools. Parent participation is a critical component in special education programming and is embedded in special education legal requirements in the US. However, navigating special education programming has proven particularly challenging for families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) communities. Existing research focuses more extensively on the obstacles parents from CLD communities face than on their contributions to their child’s success. The present case study examines the advocacy efforts of an African American mother of two youths with disabilities. The study documents this mother’s involvement in a special education advocacy training program to enhance her ability to exercise her rights on behalf of her children. Data included an analysis of in-person interviews and special education documentation. Several themes emerged from the data including (a) challenges experienced navigating special education programming, (b) advocacy efforts to support her children’s programming, and (c) using the knowledge and skills gained from her participation in the program to inform her decisions. Overall, acting on her instincts became the most powerful tool in this parent’s efforts to advocate on behalf of her children.
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Advocating for a child’s rights and needs is an experience shared by most families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This qualitative study is an in-depth secondary content analysis of the discourse of 13 immigrant families on their advocacy experience during the early childhood period. Results revealed that, from very early on, parents engage in an adaptive process as advocates to ensure an inclusive future for their children and call on support during key transition periods. In light of these findings, from immigrant families in a Canadian province, implications for practice, policy and research are discussed.
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Despite policy and research supporting meaningful family-professional partnerships (FPPs) in U.S. schools, reported school practices demonstrate that such partnerships often do not come to fruition. One paramount barrier to FPP involves limited teacher preparation in university coursework. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore special education faculty decision-making regarding designing and delivering FPP content and skills in U.S. institutions of higher education. The authors report three key themes: (a) FPP definitions and targeted skills, (b) rationale for prioritizing FPP skills, and (c) strategies for teaching FPP skills.
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Family-professional partnerships are an important predictor of student success for children with and without disabilities. However, little is known about the perspectives of fathers of children with complex disabilities regarding their partnerships with educational professionals. This study presents findings from semi-structured interviews with 15 fathers of children with complex disabilities regarding their partnerships with professionals. Fathers described both challenging and collaborative interactions with the educational professionals working with their children. In challenging interactions, fathers described educational professionals focused on the monetary costs of their child’s educational needs, a struggle to find schools and programs that fit their child’s needs, and educators who were inflexible and unwilling to implement individualized instructional strategies. More positive and collaborative father-professional partnerships were characterized by authentic relationships that responded to the expertise of parents, as well as educators who were flexible and strengths-based in their practice. Fathers offered guidance for how educators could strengthen partnerships with fathers. Findings from this study extend the very limited research on the school involvement experiences of fathers of children with complex disabilities by identifying specific characteristics of positive and negative family-professional interactions for these fathers and highlighting avenues for change in professional practice to strengthen fathers’ school involvement experiences.
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Over the past 30 years, through multiple reauthorizations, both the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, lawmakers and researchers have consistently acknowledged the importance of fostering family-professional partnerships in schools. Yet research continues to document a number of challenges and obstacles experienced by families and professionals with actualizing this intended partnership through both special meetings (i.e., Individualized Education Programs) and ongoing consultation interactions, as originally envisioned by lawmakers. Much of this divergence between policy, research, and practice is attributed to the historical challenges experienced between professionals and families with forming and maintaining trust. In celebration of the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation’s 30th anniversary, this paper provides discussion of the legal implications of the family-professional partnership, historical documented challenges that lead to a lack of trust in these partnerships, the importance of developing and maintaining a trusting family-professional partnership in special education consultation, and recommendations for future family/parent consultation practice, research, and policy.
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Research on inclusive education (IE) documents benefits for both students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Internationally, IE is frequently aligned with the Salamanca Statement and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Salamanca Statement affirms ‘the right to education of every individual … regardless of individual differences.’ IE in Mexico has a brief and turbulent history. Of the 15% of students in Mexico who have a disability, only 2.85% receive IE. In addition, research on IE in Mexico is sparse. This exploratory study investigates the perspectives regarding IE among educators and family caregivers of children with and without disabilities schools in Mexico City, Mexico. Results show a prevalent support for IE among parents and teachers. Implications for policy, practice, and research are discussed.
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This scoping review draws a portrait of current literature in the field of early childhood on parents’ advocacy against exclusion mechanisms still frequently experienced by their children with a developmental disability in our education systems which seek to be more inclusive. Twenty-two journal articles have been selected, demonstrating that parents face a twofold exclusion process. On the one hand, they fight for their children’s right to an inclusive education and, on the other hand, for their own right to fully and actively be part of the educational team. In order to push back against this phenomenon, one can rely on a model of partnership between families and service providers.
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Family–professional partnerships (FPPs) are an important, federally mandated part of the American education system that benefit all students, but especially students with disabilities. Although special education teacher preparation programs offer a viable and sustainable way to enhance FPPs, little is known about the degree to which these programs address FPPs within their curricula. The purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which special education teacher preparation programs address FPPs. A total of 113 special education faculty members across 52 institutions responded to a national online survey addressing this topic. Results indicated (a) a disconnect in the value and implementation of FPP-related knowledge and skills at the program and individual faculty levels and (b) patterns of inconsistent FPP-related content coverage across undergraduate and graduate offerings as well as across FPP-specific and non-FPP-specific coursework. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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Although many parents report needing advocates to receive special education services for their children with disabilities, the advocacy process is largely unexplored especially in relation to school and child outcomes. The purpose of this study was to explore the special education advocacy process by conducting interviews with nine parent–advocate dyads. Findings indicate that advocates and parents agreed on the advocacy process. Participants reported that schools often responded positively to the advocate; however, some schools were confrontational and surprised. Regardless of the school’s response, advocates and parents perceived that advocacy positively influenced child and family outcomes. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed.
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Although increasing numbers of students with disabilities are attending college, they graduate at lower rates compared to students without disabilities. In order to understand how to effectively prepare students with disabilities and provide meaningful support to college students with disabilities, we investigated the experiences of students registered with the disability service office at a public university located in the eastern region of the U.S. to learn about (a) the degree to which they felt prepared to enter college, (b) the disability-related services they received in college, (c) their perspectives of services received, (d) suggestions for improving services, and (e) their perspectives family involvement in college. We report mixed-methods findings from participants and provide implications for policy and practice.
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In this closing commentary to the special edition of Learning Disability Quarterly (LDQ) on parent voice in educational decision making for students with learning disabilities, we briefly survey main topics from each article, illuminating important findings from the authors, along with several questions they raise, and identify themes that reverberate throughout them as a collection. Subsequently, we offer suggestions to improve parental involvement in the decision-making process, in particular, the negotiation of Individualized Education Programs. In doing so, we emphasize the onus placed upon school professionals to better understand parental positionalities and needs, be culturally cognizant and competent in interactions, with the specific purpose of consciously addressing power differentials that have historically inhibited authentic parent–professional relationships. Finally, we end with a short note on the research methodologies used in this special edition.
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This study examined the effectiveness of the Self-Directed IEP to teach individualized education program (IEP) meeting skills. One hundred and thirty secondary students were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group. Observations of 130 meetings and 764 IEP team members were performed using 10-s momentary time sampling to determine the percentage of intervals team members talked and the percentage of time they discussed transition. Special education teachers completed a pre/post ChoiceMaker self-determination student skill and opportunity assessment, and meeting participants answered postmeeting surveys. The Self-Directed IEP had a strong effect on increasing the percentage of time students talked, started, and led the meetings. This was verified by survey results. These findings add to the growing literature demonstrating the effectiveness of the Self-Directed IEP.
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The extant literature documents the importance of school counselors’ roles in school–family–community partnerships, yet no model exists to guide school counselors through the process of building partnerships. The authors propose a model to help school counselors navigate the process and principles of partnerships. They define partnerships; discuss the principles of democratic collaboration, empowerment, social justice, and strengths focus that should infuse partnerships; enumerate a partnership process model; and discuss implications for practice and research.
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The attendance of children from refugee families at Head Start agencies provides the opportunity for Head Start staff to foster trusting family partnerships that are collaborative, respectful, and goal-oriented, yet little is known about how the actions of Head Start staff and families affect these trusting partnerships. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate and describe the actions of the Head Start staff and a refugee family that could have potentially developed a partnership between them and determine what factors facilitated or impeded the formation of a partnership. The findings indicated that the relationship between the family and Head Start staff was positive but not the type of trusting partnership that the Head Start national standards advocate. Factors that facilitated and impeded the formation of trusting partnership in this case study as well as implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.
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Dramatic changes involving rural parents and family systems are impacting schools, communities, and entire provinces and states. The out-migration of individual parents and entire family systems worldwide is especially noteworthy becaUSeit contributes to incipient urbanization at the same time that it UShers in consequential demographic changes—with economic development ramifications. For example, as parents migrate in search of jobs and better educational opportunities for their children, vulnerable families may replace them. Meanwhile, more mothers are in the work force.Mother-headed, single parent families are commonplace, and an unspecified number face employment challenges. Comparatively more, culturally diverse families are not fluent in their new nation's dominant language. Where rural schools are concerned, a conventional parent involvementmodel (PI) founded on the idea that stay-at-home mothers will volunteer no longer will yield desired benefits at scale.Additional parent and family innovations are needed, and they mUSt be founded on intervention logic. Two such innovations are a collective parent engagement intervention and family support interventions. With PI, they form an intervention triad with the potential to strengthen connections among rural families, schools, community organizations, and faith-based institutions. These new connections in support of parents and family systems will help advance comprehensive planning for rural education and human development.
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Research about parent experiences with the special education system is largely dominated by the perspectives of mothers. Using purposeful sampling techniques, we interviewed 20 active fathers about their experiences navigating the special education system. All the fathers described three primary roles they experienced, including acting as a partner, advocate, and student. With respect to each of these roles, the fathers also described feeling as if they were not a part of the team, describing themselves as the odd man out. Each construct is discussed in detail, along with implications for practice.
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Parent involvement is acknowledged as a crucial aspect of the education of students with special needs. However, the discourse of parent involvement represents parent involvement in limited ways, thereby controlling how and the extent to which parents can be involved in the education of their children. In this article, critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used to examine the discourse of parent involvement in excerpts from policy documents and interviews from a larger study on immigrant Chinese Canadian mothers' involvement in the education of their children with disabilities. Contrasting policy documents and interviews, the discourse of parent involvement positioned mothers as over- or underinvolved, subordinate, and inexpert.
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Students with disabilities and their families across the globe are increasingly setting postsecondary education (PSE) as a future goal, a relatively recent phenomenon. To supplement current knowledge on this goal, we studied parents' means of accessing information and the impact of K‐12 inclusive general education experiences on parents' desires and expectations for PSE. Key findings indicated that parents did not fully understand the transition process and had a low degree of knowledge and access to information about PSE. The data showed that levels of student inclusion related to parental desire and expectation for PSE and to parental involvement in transition planning activities. Implications for theory, measurement, practice, and public policy include a clear need for improved information and dissemination practices regarding PSE as a transition option. The data also imply that teacher education programs would be strengthened by the inclusion of information about PSE options.
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The Individualized Education Program (IEP) was developed as a part of US Public Law 94-142 related to educating students with disabilities. The aim of the IEP process was to ensure that educators and parents are involved in collaboratively creating a formalized plan for instruction that will address unique students’ needs. However, the IEP process has created unintended consequences such as depersonalized meetings, and a focus on paperwork and compliance rather than collaboration with parents. The parents interviewed in this study offered a number of recommendations on how to make both the process and the product of IEP meetings more meaningful.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to trace a 40‐year research journey to identify organizational properties that foster the achievement of all students, regardless of socio‐economic status (SES). Design/methodology/approach The author describes a search for school properties that have an impact on the cognitive and social‐emotional development of faculty and students, with special emphasis on academic achievement. Findings Three characteristics of schools were identified that make a positive difference for student achievement controlling for the SES: collective efficacy, collective trust in parents and students, and academic emphasis of the school. Further these three measures are elements of a latent construct, academic emphasis of school, which is a powerful predictor of student achievement regardless of SES. Originality/value The paper identifies school variables that are often as important, or more important, than SES in explaining academic achievement, and a new model is created to explain how academic optimism influences student achievement.
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Understanding factors that escalate conflict, and understanding how conflicts are perceived, particularly by parents, is necessary in developing appropriate response strategies. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that escalate and deescalate parent-school conflict from the perspectives of parents of children with disabilities, school administrators, and mediators. Data from 44 telephone interviews were transcribed and then analyzed. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze data. Eight categories of factors that escalate parent-school conflict in special education were identified: discrepant views of a child or a child's needs, knowledge, service delivery, reciprocal power, constraints, valuation, communication, and trust. Implications for preventing and handling conflict are discussed.
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In the past, the assessment of families' satisfaction with the quality of their partnerships with the professionals who serve their children has been restricted to specific programs or age groups, precluding investigation of the relationship between parents' perspectives on satisfaction and the importance of partnership components for children at different ages. Differences in policies, service models, and family needs at different life-cycle stages suggest a need to understand how satisfaction might differ among parents of children of different ages. In this study, 147 parents completed the Beach Center Family—Professional Partnership Scale to describe the perceived importance of and satisfaction with 18 aspects of their child and family's relationships with their primary service provider. No differences in importance ratings among parents of children ages birth to 3 years, 3 to 5 years, and 6 to 12 years emerged, but there were differences among satisfaction ratings, with parents of older children reporting lower satisfaction. Exploratory analyses relating satisfaction levels across other demographic variables also took place. Implications of these findings for future research and application are discussed.
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This study addressed teachers' and parents' perceptions of the meanings and functions of parent involvement. Twelve teachers and 13 parents participated in semistructured ethnographic interviews. All actors were either employed by or involved in an ethnically concentrated elementary school in a low-income, culturally diverse, urban community. Analyses revealed that teachers and parents have different perceptions of parent involvement. These different perceptions implicate diverse epistemologies,differential power, and some competing purposes. On the other hand, teachers and parents both claim that firm, mutually beneficial partnerships (or collaboration) between them are essential to children's learning, healthy development, and success in school. Perceived barriers need to be addressed for these partnerships to eventuate.
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Parental dissatisfaction with special education services is a national problem. This article presents two districts that have undergone systemwide changes to decrease the dissatisfaction of families who have children with disabilities. Using qualitative inquiry, the authors analyzed documents and observed and interviewed 24 informants about the system problems and changes. Data analysis revealed three themes within the systems problems category: (a) lack of leadership, (b) not keeping up with the law, and (c) parents excluded. Systemwide changes were organized into seven themes: (a) new leadership, (b) partnerships, (c) creative use of resources, (d) updated educational practices, (e) relationship building, (f) teacher and parent support, and (g) alternative dispute resolution. Findings revealed effective leaders who focused on all levels of the system.
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This study explores the preparation of future teachers and administrators to conduct school, family, and community partnerships. Based on a sample of 161 schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDE) in the United States, the survey examined not only the courses and content presently offered to prospective educators, but also leaders' perspectives and projections for the future. The results extend previous studies by identifying structural, organizational, and attitudinal factors associated with differences in SCDEs' coverage of partnership topics, preparedness of graduates to conduct family and community involvement activities, and prospects for change. Specifically, SCDE leaders' beliefs that partnership skills were important, required by accreditation organizations, and preferred by school districts hiring new teachers and administrators were significantly associated with more content covered on partnerships, better preparation of graduates, and future plans to require courses on partnerships for undergraduate and graduate students. SCDE leaders pointed to factors that may limit program change including faculty attitudes, university procedures, and state restrictions on additions to graduation requirements. The data suggest that SCDE leaders must be active change agents and team builders to guide their institutions to prepare future educators to conduct effective family and community involvement programs and practices.
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The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) provides the first national picture of the involvement of families in the educational development of their secondary-school-age children with disabilities. NLTS2 has a nationally representative sample of more than 11,000 students who were ages 13 through 16 and receiving special education services in grade 7 or above when they were sampled in 2000. Information from NLTS2 is weighted to represent youth with disabilities nationally as a group, as well as youth in each of the 12 federal special education disability categories used in NLTS2. Information in this report was gathered from parents/guardians of NLTS2 youth in telephone interviews or through mail questionnaires in the spring and summer of 2001. Findings indicate that families of most students with disabilities are very involved in supporting their children's educational development at home and school, with almost all participating in at least one type of school-based activity. Most families report regularly talking with their children about school and helping with homework at least once a week. One in five provide homework assistance as often as five or more times per week. Students with disabilities are more likely to receive help with homework than are their peers in the general population. The difference in homework support is especially apparent for those who receive frequent help; students with disabilities are five times as likely as their peers in the general population to receive homework assistance frequently. Nearly 9 out of 10 parents of secondary-school-age students with disabilities report participating in at least one IEP meeting in the current or prior school year. Several characteristics of students with disabilities are related to the participation of their families in their educational development, when controlling for other differences. Most variations in levels of participation associated with differences in family and youthtics for youth with disabilities parallel those for families of students in the general population. The importance of family involvement and expectations is supported by NLTS2 analyses. Parents' activities in support of their children's education is associated with consistent differences in several achievement domains, independent of disability, functioning, or other differences among youth. These findings have implications for special education practice, especially related to family-school communication, information and support, and teacher training.
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The disproportionate representation of students of color in special education programs has been an issue in the field for decades. However, the literature on the topic tends to ignore the perceptions held by the families of these children. This paper shares the results of a qualitative study which explored the perceptions of one group of African-American parents that challenged their local school system on the placement and quality of services delivered to African-American children in special education.
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This study examined preservice teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching children with disabilities to determine whether firsthand field experience in an inclusive setting influences preservice teachers’ self-efficacy. A total of 146 preservice teachers enrolled in an early childhood teacher education program in a suburban area in the U.S. Midwest participated in this study. The results revealed that the preservice teachers with firsthand field experience (attendance) in an inclusive classroom perceived themselves to be more efficacious than their counterparts. However, there were no significant effects of time spent at the inclusive setting and courses taken. The present study discusses educational implementation of firsthand experience into teacher preparation programs to enhance teacher effectiveness.
Book
School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools addresses a fundamental question in education today: How will colleges and universities prepare future teachers, administrators, counselors, and other education professionals to conduct effective programs of family and community involvement that contribute to students’ success in school? The work of Joyce L. Epstein has advanced theories, research, policies, and practices of family and community involvement in elementary, middle, and high schools, districts, and states nationwide. In this second edition, she shows that there are new and better ways to organize programs of family and community involvement as essential components of district leadership and school improvement. THE SECOND EDITION OFFERS EDUCATORS AND RESEARCHERS: •A framework for helping rising educators to develop comprehensive, goal-linked programs of school, family, and community partnerships. •A clear discussion of the theory of overlapping spheres of influence, which asserts that schools, families, and communities share responsibility for student success in school. •A historic overview and exploration of research on the nature and effects of parent involvement. •Methods for applying the theory, framework, and research on partnerships in college course assignments, class discussions, projects and activities, and fi eld experiences. •Examples that show how research-based approaches improve policies on partnerships, district leadership, and school programs of family and community involvement. Definitive and engaging, School, Family, and Community Partnerships can be used as a main or supplementary text in courses on foundations of education methods of teaching, educational administration, family and community relations, contemporary issues in education, sociology of education, sociology of the family, school psychology, social work, education policy, and other courses that prepare professionals to work in schools and with families and students.
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The field of special education has a historical precedent for establishing ethical practices for professionals. These practices have evolved through legal mandates, scientific inquiry, professional research, professional organizations, and consumer concerns and input. A pivotal component of special education ethics focuses on the involvement of parents and/or family members as equal partners within the special education process. The purpose of this article is to examine the ethics of parental involvement in special education from a primarily rural special education perspective. This article reviews current research to date and discusses implications of the disconnect between the ethical responsibility of assuring equal parent participation and research findings. This article provides specific recommendations for future directions in promoting parental involvement in rural special education contexts.
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In this, study, the authors examined the moderating effects of partnership on the relationship between services and supports adequacy and family quality of life (FQOL) for families of children with deaf-blindness ages birth to 21. A social-ecological approach enabled examining the impact of disability on the family system. A survey, consisting of four measures, was completed by 227 parents of children with deaf-blindness. Results suggest that FQOL for families of children with deaf-blindness is explained, in part, by satisfaction with the adequacy of friend and family supports and child-care services. Satisfaction with partnership also significantly predicted FQOL for these families. Significant interaction effects indicated that the relationships (a) between education services adequacy and FQOL and (b) between related services adequacy and FQOL are dependent on satisfaction with partnership. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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All educational stakeholders benefit when families and school staff have trusting partnerships as they work together to achieve mutual goals. Eleven focus groups were conducted with parents of children with and without disabilities in six schools, which had been selected as knowledge development sites by the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center. The purpose of this appreciative inquiry was to understand these parents' perspectives on the nature of trusting partnerships within their schools. The following four themes emerged: (a) communicating, (b) establishing a sense of belonging, (c) demonstrating professional competency and commitment, and (d) building family leadership. Multiple approaches are described for how professionals and families from the schools implemented these four themes. Implications for school practices, preservice education, and future investigation are addressed.
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Although parents often advocate for the best educational services for their children with disabilities, few studies examine parents’ advocacy activities; identify parent-school relationship, parent, and student correlates of advocacy; or describe the conditions of advocacy. Responding to a national, web-based survey, 1087 parents of students with disabilities completed a 163-item questionnaire. A seven-item Special Education Rights and Advocacy Scale converged on a single factor. Higher levels of advocacy were found among parents who enacted their procedural safeguards, reported less satisfactory partnerships with schools, and were less satisfied with educational services. Parents engaging in the highest levels of advocacy described negative experiences, with schools refusing services, acting disingenuously, lacking trained personnel, and communicating poorly. Conversely (and with some exceptions), parents engaging in lesser amounts of advocacy reported positive experiences, were satisfied, and felt that their IEP teams were collaborative. High levels of parental advocacy may be a reaction to poor relationships with and behaviors by the school. Implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed.
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Given the documented benefits of family involvement in educational planning, engaging families throughout the school years is strongly advocated. However, barriers continue to impede families from collaborative partnering in educational planning. In this qualitative study the perceptions of six families were examined prior to and after the implementation of a student centered individualized education program (IEP) planning tool. Findings revealed barriers within traditional planning that relegate families to passive roles and a family preference for the student centered approach to IEP planning. The student centered approach resulted in increased family satisfaction, more collaborative participation by all IEP team members, and broader consideration of family and student input with respect to future desired outcomes as a basis for goal development.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the professionals' perspectives regarding characteristics of effective partnerships with parents. The sample involved 20 professionals representing the backgrounds of occupational therapists/physical therapists/speech-language pathologists, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and health professionals. The following three themes were identified through qualitative analysis: (a) gap between family-centered language and actions; (b) Goldilocks perception (i.e., the perception that parents may be involved too much, too little, or just right); and (c) parental blame. Future directions for research and practice are suggested.
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This article highlights three significant advances in schoolwide inclusive school reform and suggests three next steps to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly for students for whom typical instruction is not effective. Significant advances are as follows: (a) a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) with embedded response to intervention, which includes positive behavioral interventions and supports; (b) universal design for learning; and (c) collaborative instruction involving general and specialized educators. Next steps are as follows: (a) implementing flexible, braided funding across educational programs; (b) fully integrating behavior and academic interventions pedagogy within MTSS; and (c) scaling up and sustaining innovative and evidence-based practices through implementation science.
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been widely celebrated for providing millions of disabled children with broader educational and life opportunities. This Note seeks to improve the implementation of the IDEA by questioning one of its key assumptions: that parents possess the tools to advocate for their children in special education matters. This Note argues that many parents need assistance to achieve optimal outcomes for their children because of the complexity of both the disabilities involved and the formal rules of the system itself. Several policy options are considered in the hope that local educational agencies will implement pilot programs to further explore the issue of external advocacy in special education.
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There are more than 6.6 million students with disabilities in U.S. public schools who receive special education services, which means that there are 6.6 million Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that have been developed and are being implemented at any given time. Each IEP represents real cost in educational opportunity, relationship building between families and schools, time, and resource allocation. Given this information, it is important to examine what we have learned from research on the development of IEPs, and to begin charting a new direction for research and practice related to IEP development. This literature review examines published, peer-reviewed research studies that have examined IEP development since the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The review concludes with a discussion of how findings from previous research on IEP development can inform future research agendas, educator practice, and federal and state policies.
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Abstract Although mothers of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience high levels of stress and schools constitute an important resource, the relation remains unknown between maternal stress and educational services. Responding to a national, web-based survey, 965 mothers of students with disabilities completed a 163-item questionnaire about parent stress. We examined which child, parent, and parent-school characteristics correlated with maternal stress. Mothers with lower stress levels reported better parent-school relationships and low levels of parent advocacy. However, lower stress levels were predominantly shown by mothers with good-to-excellent parent-school relationships (vs. poor-to-fair partnerships) and who engaged in virtually no (vs. any) advocacy activities. Lower maternal stress levels were also noted when children had fewer behavior problems, Down syndrome, and did not have autism. Less stress was also reported by mothers who had not enacted procedural safeguards, were minorities, and rated themselves lower on neuroticism and were more extroverted, dependable, and open to new experiences. This study has important implications for practitioners and researchers.
Article
While the national growth of interdisciplinary early childhood education (ECE) and early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher preparation has been documented, research into these programs is scarce. This study was conducted to gather graduates' perceptions of their preparation in a statewide system of ECE/ECSE interdisciplinary teacher preparation programs. A southeastern state implemented the new approach to preparing teachers to work with infants, toddlers, and young children with and without disabilities, and their families, in 1992. As one of the first stand-alone blended teacher preparation licenses, the Birth through Kindergarten license in this state is a competency-based approach to licensure combining the NAEYC and DEC preparation standards. A mail survey of graduates from seven state- and NCATE-approved blended programs was conducted during the first year of employment. Participants were asked to rate their preparation in state licensure competencies. Perceived strengths were higher in areas of general early childhood and child development than in areas specific to early childhood special education. Graduates reported a need in the preparation programs for more content and application in areas including working with families, behavior analysis, and working with children who have moderate to severe disabilities.
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The movement toward inclusion has made educating and caring for children with disabilities an increasingly critical part of the early education teacher's role. The goal of this paper is to describe the extent to which early childhood teacher preparation programs are including early childhood special educationlearly intervention content and experiences as part of their core course and practicum requirements. A nationally representative survey of 438 chairs and directors of early childhood teacher preparation programs revealed that while a large proportion of programs consider early childhood special educationlearly intervention to be a part of the mission of their program, the amount of coursework and practicum experience vary considerably by content area and level of degree offered by the program. Implications are offered for policy and future research.
Article
This study focused on literacy-related barriers to understanding the rights of students with disabilities and their parents within the special education system. SMOG readability scores were determined for procedural safeguards documents issued by all state departments of education. The average reading grade level was 16; 6% scored in the high school range, 55% scored in the college range, and 39% scored in the graduate or professional range. Comparisons of national literacy data and national data on the educational attainment of parents of students with disabilities suggest that there is a disproportionate burden of limited literacy among these parents compared to the general population. The significance of results is discussed with respect to relevant regulatory requirements, case law, and evidence from the legal and health literacy fields.
Article
The value of collaboration between parents and educators is well-recognized. However, many preservice educators feel they lack the skills and confidence needed to establish and maintain effective partnerships with parents. This qualitative study was designed to explore one approach to improving teacher preparation with respect to parent/professional partnerships. An undergraduate course for preservice special educators was modified to provide students with multiple opportunities for meaningful interaction with parents of children with disabilities. One parent served as co-instructor of the course while six additional parents were embedded in the course for the entire semester. Pre- and post-intervention focus groups were conducted to describe the impact of this course innovation on the preservice students' dispositions and competencies regarding parent/professional partnerships. Results suggest that student dispositions changed from viewing parents as uncaring, uninvolved, and unknowledgeable to valuing them as experts on the child and partners in the decision-making process.
Article
This study applied three family measures (ratings of service adequacy or implementation, satisfaction with the family–professional partnership, and family quality of life) to a sample of families of young children in one Midwestern U.S. state. The results suggest that: (a) families more often believe they are receiving adequate amounts of services for their child, but tend to believe they are not receiving adequate amounts of services for their family; (b) respondents tend to be satisfied with their partnerships with their primary service provider, with lower satisfaction ratings for the provider's ability to meet their child's individual needs and to provide information about services; and (c) respondents tended to be more satisfied with their family's material well‐being and less so with their family's emotional well‐being. Finally, we found that service adequacy ratings were a significant predictor of family quality of life, and that partnerships partially mediated this effect. We discuss the research, service, and policy implications of these findings.
Article
Discusses the history and rationale of the parent participation provisions of Public Law 92-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, by analyzing Congressional hearing testimony given by various concerned organizations and individuals while the bill was being considered in Congress. The importance of understanding why and how parents can and should participate in the planning and evaluation of their handicapped child's education is emphasized in light of the Reagan Administration's attempts to "de-federalize" special education. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The purpose of this investigation Was to examine families' involvement in and perceptions of children's special education services. A telephone survey Was conducted With 45 families of children With autism Who Were part of a parent support group. The survey consisted of a total of 15 questions that pertained to the folloWing areas: (a) the child's educational placement and type of special education services received, (b) the frequency and nature of parents' communication With school personnel, (c) parents' knoWledge about and involvement in their child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, and (d) parents' priorities for their child and overall satisfaction With school services. Results indicated that the majority of children spent part of their day in the general education classroom and received 1 to 2 special education services.
Article
The author investigated parental perceptions of the individualized education program (IEP) meeting among 51 parents of students who were receiving special education services from 1 family support service agency. Survey questions pertained to the following areas: (a) IEP meeting experiences, (b) knowledge level of special education law, (c) relations with educators, (d) IEP meeting outcomes, and (e) recommended areas for improvement. The majority of parents responded favorably that their overall IEP meeting experiences had been positive. Most respondents had positive perceptions of the IEP meeting because of educators' valuing parents' input while treating parents with respect and as equal decision makers. Also, most parents agreed that they had a clear understanding of the IEP process and special education law.
Article
Research has documented the important role that parental involvement plays in children's learning. Yet, it can be challenging for schools to establish appropriate relationships with parents. Is there an optimal balance of collab-orative and separate relationships between parents and schools? Twenty parents in one K-12 public school district in the U.S. participated in semi-structured interviews to share their perceptions of ways in which their children's schools encouraged their involvement or created barriers that discouraged them from taking an active role through communication, volunteering, and other school-sponsored activities. Parents who had both positive and negative experiences with schools shared their opinions. This study is organized around themes from parents' comments: types of involvement that parents found meaningful; ability of all parents to contribute to schools; parents' involvement in decisions about student learning, curriculum, and classroom policies; and home–school relationships. Epstein's (2001) six types of parental involvement and the theo-ries of social networking and influence provide a framework to explain the different experiences of parents who were satisfied and those who were dissat-isfied. Satisfied parents' involvement focused on school activities and policy decisions, and they tended to have networks that led to greater influence of school practices, while parents who were dissatisfied with home–school com-munications valued involvement with their children at home. Implications for greater involvement of parents is discussed.
Article
In accordance with the Bakhtinian framework of this article, the text represents a dialogue between practices documented in the literature; the first author's perspective as a teacher, evaluator, and consultant; Bakhtin's theories of language; and the lived experiences of the second author, a parent whose child has been labeled as having a language learning disability. Although the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants parents the right to be involved in educational decisions about their children, we argue that the routine disqualification of parents' voices by school professionals is a major obstacle to authentic collaboration. Bakhtin's theories of language serve to illuminate the discourse between parents and professionals in special education committee meetings. We conclude with our vision for a mutual dialogic exchange between parents and professionals.
Family members' involvement in the initial individual education program (IEP) meeting and the IEP process: Perceptions and reactions
  • H Hammond
  • I Ingalls
  • R P Trussell
Hammond, H., Ingalls, I., & Trussell, R. P. (2008). Family members' involvement in the initial individual education program (IEP) meeting and the IEP process: Perceptions and reactions. International Journal About Parents in Education, 2(1), 35-48.
Encouraging meaningful parent/educator collaboration: A recent review of literature
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Hedeen, T., Moses, P., & Peter, M. (July, 2011). Encouraging meaningful parent/educator collaboration: A recent review of literature. Retrieved from http://www.directionservice.org/cadre/ meaningcollab.cfm
Parents' experiences with childhood deafness: Implications for family-centered services
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Jackson, C. W., Traub, R. J., & Turnbull, A. P. (2008). Parents' experiences with childhood deafness: Implications for family-centered services. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 29(2), 82-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/ 1525740108314865
Culturally and linguistically diverse parents' perceptions of the IEP process: A review of current research. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners
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Wolfe, K., & Durán, L. K. (2013). Culturally and linguistically diverse parents' perceptions of the IEP process: A review of current research. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 13(2), 4-18.
University of Vermont
  • Katharine G Shepherd
Katharine G. Shepherd, University of Vermont; Natalie Holdren, University of California-Santa Barbara;
Chinese families' level of participation and experiences in IEP meetings. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth
  • L Lo
Lo, L. (2008). Chinese families' level of participation and experiences in IEP meetings. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 53(1), 21-27. http://dx. doi.org/10.3200/PSFL.53.1.21-27