ERIC Number: EJ796236
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 21
Building Bridges with Families: Honoring the Mandates of IDEIA
Coots, Jennifer J.
Issues in Teacher Education, v16 n2 p33-40 Fall 2007
Parent participation has been one of the key principles of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) since it was first authorized in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) and has continued through the most recent reauthorization in 2004. Parents of children with disabilities have decision making roles about their children's education mandated by law in part based upon historical lack of involvement in such decisions provided by school personnel and the resultant lack of effective education for these children. Beyond these legal mandates, best practice standards would suggest that services will be most effective when parents and professionals work in collaboration. The President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education (PCESE) said that a key element to achieving excellence in special education is to encourage family empowerment in relation to the special education services their child receives. Increasing collaboration with parents is also frequently mentioned as important for school reform in general. While seemingly a simplistic element, the importance of listening to families should not be overlooked in developing collaborative partnerships with parents that will allow the intended mandates of EAHCA and IDEIA to be honored. This article discusses some of what should occur in terms of listening to families in part based upon the results of a longitudinal study of over 100 families of children identified with developmental delays at age 3. This study, Project CHILD, has focused on listening to families tell their stories and while not focused on providing interventions such as school-related services, the experience of listening to these families' stories provides lessons for professionals and in particular, teacher educators. Some of those key lessons are shared here.
Descriptors: School Restructuring, Parent Participation, Developmental Delays, Related Services (Special Education), Special Education, Empowerment, Special Programs, Parent Attitudes, Phenomenology, Parent School Relationship, Partnerships in Education, Performance Factors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Education for All Handicapped Children Act