Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Narratives of the Special Education Experience in Preschool and Elementary: Unheard Voices of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parents of Children with Disabilities
by Garraway, Renée L., Ed.D., Bowie State University, 2019, 214; 22621921
Abstract (Summary)

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) youth with disabilities may face a plethora of problems as they transition through school (i.e., teacher bias; inequitable discipline compared to White peers; over and under-identification in special education, etc.). A limited number of studies focus on the experiences and perspectives of parents/caregivers of youth in the primary grades let alone those with disabilities from CLD backgrounds. Focusing on the experiences of parents and their children in the early grades will inevitably provide an understanding of how these barriers impact the trajectory of CLD students with disabilities (Harry, 2008).

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perspectives of CLD parents of students with disabilities on the child and parental experience with educators during the preschool and elementary grades (pre-K through fifth grade). Qualitative methods, specifically narrative inquiry, was used to gain in-depth knowledge of the parental perspective in order to elucidate the challenges, barriers, and successes faced by these parents and their children. Multiple methods of collecting data (i.e., narrative interviews, focus groups, and journal prompts) were used to gain a deeper understanding of participants’ journey through the special education process (Stake, 2010).

Data from 13 participants were highlighted and analyzed. Findings revealed several emergent themes: (1) educators need to develop cultural competence to improve relationships with CLD students and their parents; (2) educators need to improve engagement and partnership in the special education process; and (3) educators and parents need to enhance their knowledge of the special education process. Findings indicate that navigating the special education process was at times frustrating for participants during their journey. Barriers included cultural misunderstandings between staff, students, and parents; lack of communication about the special education process; and inadequate service delivery. Overall, participants were left with unanswered questions regarding their child’s needs, services, and progress. This study has implications for policymakers, educators, service providers, and parents of children with disabilities who seek to improve parental engagement and equalizing partnerships for improved student outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hilliard, Ann
Commitee: Johnson, Jennifer M, Newsome, Jr, Edward, Goings, Ramon B
School: Bowie State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Early childhood education, Elementary education
Keywords: African American Students, Cultural Competence, Disability, Family Engagement, Hispanic Students, Narrative Inquiry
Publication Number: 22621921
ISBN: 9781392532676
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