Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Arab American parents' experiences of special education and disability: A phenomenological exploration
by Donovan, Elizabeth A., Ph.D., Kent State University, 2013, 314; 3618900
Abstract (Summary)

Within the field of school psychology there exists literature for school psychologists working with specific ethnic and linguistic groups (Frisby & Reynolds, 2005; Tomes, 2011). The Arab American population is estimated to be 3.6 million (Arab American Institute, 2012). However, there is a paucity of school psychology research on Arab American students and families (Goforth, 2011; Haboush, 2007). As active members of the special education process, school psychologists will benefit from information regarding Arab American cultural and religious beliefs about special education and disabilities. Such information will assist them in providing culturally sensitive and appropriate services to students and families.

This study utilized a phenomenological qualitative approach to illuminate Arab Americans parents' experiences with their children's encounters with the special education process and perceptions of their children's disabilities. Phenomenological data analysis revealed four core themes. First, parents attached significance to specific steps within the special education process and to cultural stigmas around special education and disabilities. Next, parents reflected on special education services and key relationships. Additionally, parents discussed their children's abilities, their understandings of special education, and their advocacy work. Finally, parents reported that their goals for their children had not changed as a result of the special education process, although the goals were tailored to their children's identified disabilities. These findings have significant implications for professionals working with Arab American students and their parents. Recommendations are made for culturally sensitive school psychology practice with Arab Americans. Suggestions are provided for further research on this important yet under-researched topic.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Anhalt, Karla
Commitee: Anhalt, Karla, Cowan, Richard, Niesz, Tricia
School: Kent State University
Department: Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Special education, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Arab american, Cultural competence, Phenomenological, Phenomenology, Qualitative research, School psychology
Publication Number: 3618900
ISBN: 9781303874482
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