Views from the other side: parental perceptions of the individualized educational plan (IEP) process
LE3 .A278 1998
Master of Education
With the passage in 1975 of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) in the United States, parents of children with disabilities were provided a voice in the educational decision-making process as conceptualized through the development of an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Since that time research has studied the nature of this involvement as it relates to the role of parents at IEP meetings. This qualitative study sought to discover how parents of four children with mental disabilities, each experienced the IEP process (i.e., initial contact with the school; IEP meeting and plan development; implementation; monitoring; and evaluation of the IEP) over the course of their child's school experience. The participants shared information about their initial experiences with school system personnel up to the present time of this research study. The findings reveal that there are a number of barriers to the IEP process. Parents feel that the IEP process is compromised by the attitudes of school system personnel toward both child and parent: that these attitudes further interfere with the IEP process by creating a relationship where parents feel they cannot trust and respect those individuals in the school system who hold these attitudes. Parents feel that the process is further complicated by the nature of teacher professionalism they experienced and by the issue of ownership with respect to their child's program. The issue of ownership may be rooted as much in the attitudes of teachers as it is in the historical relationship between special and regular education. Parents used a number of strategies to breakdown these barriers with each achieving various degrees of success.
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