Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Tammy Gilligan

Ashton Trice


Federal guidelines outline school communication with parents as a necessity throughout the special education process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that parents have the right to participate in their children’s educational involvement, including but not limited to: Individualized Education Program Meetings (IEP), due process proceedings, and any components of evaluation and individual services provided to their child. While law mandates that schools proactively communicate with parents, in many aspects, parents may often feel disconnected from aspects of the special education process, particularly eligibility meetings (Bucknavage, 2007). Further, results of the component selections within the eligibility determination for special education may complicate the relationship between school and parents, potentially leaving parents feeling isolated, frustrated, or confused (Esquivel et al., 2008; (Buckman, 1992). This study specifically will use a parent survey to improve and inform best practices for school psychologists about investigating factors that encourage parent participation in eligibility meetings. As school professionals, it is important that parents not only participate and comprehend the entire process of special education, including potential diagnoses, but also feel empowered to advocate for the welfare of their child.

The goal of this study is not to provide a comprehensive evaluation of experiences of parents and families who have completed the special education experience in schools. Rather, this study shares specific, meaningful stories of participants to illustrate potential successes and difficulties that parents may face specifically within special education eligibility meetings and the implications towards the future.



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