The Parent Perspective

Role and Involvement in IEP Process

Sheryl G. Muir
University of Northern Colorado
Fall 2000

Past studies about parent involvement

Epstein et al (1997)

  • Parental involvement improves student academic progress
  • Parental involvement improves parent attitudes toward schools & teachers

Deaf ed. studies about parental involvement

  • Specific personal or communicative involvement with their child
    • Eye contact
    • Quality of interactions

Past studies (continued)

Deaf ed. studies

  • Parental decisions
    • Cochlear implants
    • Communication mode
  • Early intervention programs
    • Change to more parent-focused services
Deaf ed. studies
  • Early intervention programs
    • Change to more parent-focused services

Most recent deaf ed. studies

  • Kluwin & Corbett (1998)
    • Parent characteristics related to parental involvement in educational programs
  • Powers & Saskiewicz (1998)
    • Parental involvement of deaf students vs. hearing students
  • Calderon (2000)
    • Impact of parental involvement on language development, reading skills, social-emotional development

Purpose of this study

  • Pilot a way to discover parent perspectives about the IEP process and their involvement
  • To help Sheryl get her feet wet with qualitative research
  • To use lessons learned from this to improve the next, bigger, study

Study questions

  • How involved do parents feel in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process?
  • What are parent perceptions about their role in the IEP process?

Method

  • Phenomenological approach
  • Interviewed 2 parents
    • Convenience sample
  • Taped and transcribed
  • Member check of transcription
  • Coded and analyzed
  • THOUGHT and wrote

Themes

Parent Learning Process

  • Learned how to play the game
  • "that one time we came dressed like trailer trash to our child's initial staffing because the teacher who called said, 'We need to meet to talk about your child.'"

Themes

Relationships

  • Parents know the value of having a good relationship with special ed. and general ed. teachers
  • "Knowing we are both working for the child regardless of our differences" should be the foundation for the relationship

Themes

Communication

  • Communication needs to flow both ways
  • Teachers should not allow themselves to become "calloused" because it prevents them from fully communicating with parents, especially those new to special education (veteran nurse analogy)

Findings?

  • Definitely NOT able to generalize anything
  • Doesn't hurt educators to scrutinize their interactions with parents and try to understand the parent perspective
  • More studies (random selection of parents, larger n, more interviews, focus groups?)