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Building Bridges: A Case Study of the Perceptions of Parents of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Towards Family/School Partnerships

Lautenbacher, Susan L. (2013) Building Bridges: A Case Study of the Perceptions of Parents of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Towards Family/School Partnerships. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This qualitative case study examines the perceptions of parents of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) towards family/school partnerships. Interviews were conducted with parents of children with autism that belonged to a parent support group in western Pennsylvania. The resulting interviews cast light on the motivators and barriers that influence parental decisions to enter into partnerships with educational professionals. The parents were motivated towards family/school partnerships through the concepts of invitation to involvement, trust, emotional connect, and parental efficacy. Role construction, team approach, parent’s knowledge, and “it’s the law” served as lesser motivators. The motivators toward family/school partnerships also have the ability to serve as barriers against family/school partnerships. Whether a concept serves to motivator or stand as a barrier depends on how the interactions occur between families and educational professionals.
Furthermore, analysis centers on the rights and responsibilities of parents found under family/school partnerships and special education law. As parents of children receiving services due to a recognized disability, the parents have additional rights and responsibilities in the area of school collaboration. The law mandates that parents be included fully in the six major principles contained within the law: due process safeguards, shared decision-making, zero reject, nondiscriminatory identification and evaluation, free appropriate public education, and least restrictive environment (IDEIA, 2004). Since 2004 the law incorporates a sense of responsibility for parents to do all that they can to engage actively in participatory behaviors. As a result of this study, the complexity of participatory behaviors of parents of children with ASD towards family/school collaboration emerges. Bronfenbrenner’s (1992) bio-ecological theory of human development and Epstein’s (2001d) overlapping spheres of influences serve as the conceptual framework for the study. The environment works on the person as the person works on the environment creating the constancy and change that occurs over the course of a lifetime.
This understanding serves to shed light on motivating behaviors that can be adopted by educational professionals to ensure parents of children with ASD develop positive perceptions towards family/school partnerships.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lautenbacher, Susan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKerr, Mary Margaretmmkerr@pitt.eduMMKERR
Committee MemberGarman, Noreenngarman@pitt.eduNGARMAN
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberGrant,
Committee MemberJannone,
Date: 30 August 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 May 2013
Approval Date: 30 August 2013
Submission Date: 31 July 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 315
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative case study on the perceptions of parents of children with autism towards family/school partnerships
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2013 19:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:14


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