Parent Empowerment: Connecting with Preservice Special Education TeachersReport as inadecuate

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School Community Journal, v23 n1 p145-168 2013

Parent empowerment includes the ability to meet the needs of one's family while feeling in control. This phenomenological study seeks to understand the experience of 71 parents of children with disabilities who participated with pre-service teachers in a 16-week special education course between 2006 and 2010. Analysis of pre-course and post-course parent focus group transcripts resulted in four shifts in perceptions of parent-professional partnerships: (1) from judgmental and impersonal to caring professionals; (2) from intimidation to confidence; (3) from defensiveness to trusting professionals; and, (4) from despair to hope. Results demonstrated parents' perceived increase in self-efficacy in decision-making, access to resources, group affiliation, positive perception change, feelings of mutual respect, experience as a change agent, and hope (i.e., empowerment). (Contains 1 table.)

Descriptors: Disabilities, Special Education, Parents, Special Education Teachers, Focus Groups, Preservice Teachers, Empowerment, Phenomenology, Parent Education, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Pretests Posttests, Partnerships in Education, Attitude Change, Special Needs Students, Group Dynamics, Social Cognition

Academic Development Institute. 121 North Kickapoo Street, Lincoln, IL 62656. Tel: 217-732-6462; Fax: 217-732-3696; Web site:

Author: Murray, Mary M.; Handyside, Lisa M.; Straka, Leslie A.; Arton-Titus, Tabatha V.



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