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ERIC Number: ED552045
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 176
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-7753-6
Mothers' Perceptions of Social Work Helpgiving Practices: Implications for the Role of the School Social Worker
Lind, Kristina S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Loyola University Chicago
The Individual with Disabilities Act has strengthened the role of parents in their children's special education. School social workers are one of the educational professionals in attendance at IEP staffings, yet their role definition continues to be poorly articulated. This qualitative study investigated school social work helpgiving practices from the perspective of the mother with a child on the autism spectrum during staffings convened for the purpose of developing individualized education plans. As limited research exists regarding the activities of the school social worker during such staffings, this study served to understand practices mothers found helpful and essential to their participation. Given that this study is aligned with an empowerment tradition of providing helpgiving, backward mapping as a means of identifying school social worker practices was adopted. To achieve this end, a qualitative approach to gathering data from mothers was deemed the most aligned with eliciting this level of descriptive information. Through semi-structured, one time, in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 12 mothers, information regarding preferred school social work practices and how these related to increased participation and advocacy was elicited for the purpose of answering the following research questions: What helpgiving practices do mothers associate with positive IEP staffing experiences? What are their perceptions of the role of the school social worker during the staffing? What helpgiving practices do mothers identify as being key to their increased participation and advocacy during the staffing? Two independent coders, using open coding techniques, coded the transcripts of the interviews resulting in the identification of five themes. They include: (1) elements of the IEP staffing, (2) parent agency, (3) team climate, (4) child-centered focus, and (5) supportive functions of team members. A number of findings emerged after review of these themes. A synthesis of these themes revealed that mothers valued a family-centered approach to helpgiving. They also valued the profession of social work due to its strengths and systems perspectives and its focus on case management but found these social work functions missing from their IEP staffing experiences. Findings from this study can be used to develop greater specificity in the role of the school social worker during IEP staffings. In addition, the findings offer some direction on the knowledge and skills to be included in a better definition for the school social worker. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act