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ERIC Number: ED576570
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 163
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3697-3674-8
No One Ever Asked Me That: Parent Experiences with Autism in Early Childhood Special Education
Lajeunesse, Anne Ouwerkerk
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, New England College
Early childhood is often a time when parents of children with autism begin to learn about their child's diagnosis and the world of special education, a time of uncertainty and emotion. This narrative inquiry sought to give voice to parents of children with autism who have navigated public early childhood special education. The results were examined through the lens of ecological systems theory, family systems theory, and social supports theory. These theories provided a deeper understanding of the importance of systemic support to families, and ultimately, to their child with autism. The themes revealed through data analysis were: (a) the importance of support for families, (b) power imbalances, and (c) the deep emotions and sense of loss that came with having a child with autism. Results indicate that there is not one consistent way of ensuring the success of students with autism and their families. Success comes from thoughtful, researched, humanistic change across systems, from changing our cultural perceptions to listening and providing empathy to families of students with autism in our schools. Participants proved that they continue to be strong advocates for their children to obtain the services they need and that, all too often, parents feel stigmatized for having a child with special needs. Although we are making progress as a society in treating parents of children with autism as equal members in their child's education, continued reflection and action-oriented discoveries about how to improve school and parent partnerships are necessary to move forward in a positive direction. [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: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A