What do Parents with Children who have Autism Think?




Thompson, Catherine Creighton

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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to better understand the perspectives of parents with children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders regarding the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, and interventions implemented to help their child meet IEP goals. The web-based survey included both closed and open-ended items. Major findings revealed that although a majority of the parents responded negatively to the single item asking their overall perceptions of the IEP process, they responded positively when asked their perceptions concerning specific IEP aspects including (a) their participation as equal IEP team members with educators, (b) that their suggestions were integrated into the IEP, and (c) that their child's IEP would meet their child's educational needs. Parents provided suggestions for improving the IEP process and desired the best education possible for their children, but also expressed concerns that generic and not "individualized IEP goals" may compromise the quality of their children's education. Parents believed their participation in the IEP process was critical, and greatly enhanced the individualization of IEP goals. Knowledge of their rights, special education law, and autism enhanced parents' abilities to participate in IEP meetings as equal partners with school personnel.



Special education, Teacher education, Education policy, Autism, Evidence based Practices (EBP), Individualized Educaiton Program (IEP), Parent education, Parents perspectives, Research based practices