This study was an exploration of how trust developed in interactions and resulting relationships between parents of young children with autism and educational professionals. The study was conducted within two school district special education programs in Northern California. The study sample was a purposive one. Six parent participants were nominated by professionals. Six professionals were nominated by parents. Participants nominated those with whom they perceived a positive relationship. The approach of the study was qualitative and included interviews of parents and professionals. Interviews were analyzed by the researcher utilizing qualitative methods following Lincoln and Guba (1985), Straus and Corbin (1998), and Charmaz (2006). Findings revealed that trust and/or distrust developed between parents and professionals through interactions in three types of processes: major phases of interaction, development of relationships, and evaluation of the child‘s intervention and developing relationships. Analysis revealed that these processes were integrated in real life experiences for parents and professionals. These three processes influenced parent and professional evaluation of outcomes. Outcomes included an overall evaluation of the child‘s intervention, child‘s progress, and relationships between parents and professionals; trust and/or distrust; and personal growth for parents and professionals. Professionals and parents took their evaluation of trust, distrust, and personal growth into future interactions and relationships. Analysis also revealed an overarching theme of professional and parent leadership practices and capacities, a finding that went beyond the study‘s proposed research questions on trust. The study extends existing research by including parent and professional perspectives, often called for in the literature. The study extends the research on trust in the special education setting. Findings of the importance of parent and professional leadership contribute to research on leadership in special education. The study‘s findings have implications for school districts, regional centers, and individuals involved in the education of children with autism. Organizations and individuals could benefit from study findings by providing training and support for parents and professionals in order to develop their capacities to participate confidently in the education of children. Organizations could benefit by replicating this qualitative study to evaluate the efficacy of the educational program.
|Commitee:||Kludt, Sandee L., Parish, Mary T.|
|School:||Saint Mary's College of California|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Special education|
|Keywords:||Autism, Leadership, Parent-professional relationship, Special education, Trust|
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