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Directing the Table: Empowering Parents for Stronger Transition Outcomes

Reardon, Charissa (2023) Directing the Table: Empowering Parents for Stronger Transition Outcomes. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Students with special learning needs (SSLN) have many issues when attempting to access
quality education that would prepare them for post-secondary pursuits. Upon investigation, two
themes stand out 1.) persistent devaluing of the potential of the SSLN, and 2.) the absence of the
caregiver’s voice in their son or daughter’s educational plan.
To address the lack of parental advocacy and voice in the decisions of their child’s
education plan, a Parent Empowerment Group was developed at the Lehigh Valley Center for
Independent Living. The group was introduced to local, state and federal agencies who offer
services to enhance transition skills of the SSLN. The goal was to increase the voice of the
caregiver so the interests of the child would become the center of their transition plan. Participants
were pulled from the local school systems in the Lehigh Valley area and bi-monthly meetings were
organized through Zoom. The participants were provided pre- and post- surveys and some
individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted to measure the growth of caregivers’
knowledge of services offered by outside agencies.
Once parents were able to connect to the various agencies, they advocated for their child’s
transition plan to increase outside agency services to enhance their child’s training. However,
many of the caregivers who come from a culturally and linguistically diverse community were not
able to engage with this program. It is important to dismantle these barriers so all of the children
with developmental disabilities are able to access a free and appropriate education.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRobertson,
Committee MemberWagner Cica,
Committee MemberSrsic,
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 June 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 10 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 111
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transition Services, Transition Plan, Center for Independent Living, Caregiver, Interagency Collaboration, Partnership, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) families, parent empowerment, outside agency, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation School, Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:53
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:53


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