Family involvement practices increase the ability of family members to work effectively with educators and service providers in planning and delivering education and transition services.
The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center has identified one evidence-based practice in family involvement. It is
(Test, Fowler, Kohler, & Kortering, 2010; Test, Fowler, Richter, White, Mazzotti, Walker, Kohler, & Kortering, 2009).
Family involvement in a student’s education is mandated by the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) and promoted by the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Students increase in both achievement and attitude when families participate in education (Henderson & Berla, 1994). Other benefits include improved student attendance, fewer discipline problems, and higher aspirations for school and career development (Caplan, Hall, Lubin, Fleming, 1997).
IDEA requires school systems to ensure that parents have the opportunity to participate if they choose to do so. The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities summarizes parents’ rights under the Act as follows:
In its publication "Seven Indicators of a Quality Transition System", the Behavioral Institute for Children and Adolescents lists the following indicators relating to family involvement:
A key aspect of Florida’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is parent involvement and buy-in during the planning and goal setting. The Florida DOE specifically requires that parents/guardians/surrogate parents must be partners in developing, reviewing, and revising the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for their child. The Florida Rule Implementation Brief, Rule 6A-6.03028, contains specific rules for parental participation, meeting notification and meeting scheduling.
In reality, families are involved in their children’s education in a variety of ways and in varying intensities. A longitudinal study, the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, described parental involvement in their child’s education as follows:
These findings may encourage teachers to reach out more to parents and encourage their involvement in their child’s education, in goal-setting, and in monitoring the progress towards achieving goals. Also, schools may encourage the formation of parent-to-parent support groups where parents of children with disabilities can help each other by providing support, encouragement, and information from people who know what they are experiencing.
Beach Center on Disability
Located at the University of Kansas, the Beach Center's goal is to improve the quality of life for families and individuals affected by disability through research, teaching, technical assistance, service, and a resource library.
Family Involvement Research Digests
This research digest from the Harvard Family Research Project examines the following questions for students with disabilities receiving special education in secondary schools:
Seven Indicators of a Quality Transition System, Behavioral Institute for Children and Adolescents
This fact sheet was developed by the Kansas Transition Systems Change Project, produced by the Beach Center on Families and Disability, and funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. It may be reproduced and distributed with credit to The Beach Center on Families and Disability.
Parent and Family Involvement Annotated
Bibliography Prepared for NSTTAC
The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) provides evidence-based practices on a number of topics including family involvement.
Transition Information for Parents
The PACER Center, a national parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth through 21 years old, provides publications, best practices, workshops, and other resources to help parents make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services for their children.
The Technical Assistance ALLIANCE for Parent Centers
Evidence-based articles and resources on special education topics and other issues important to parents are provided by an alliance of national and regional centers that support over 100 Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The centers work to strengthen the connections to the larger OSEP Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network and fortify partnerships between Parent Centers and education systems at local, state, and national levels.
Harvard Family Research Project (HFR)
HFR helps stakeholders develop and evaluate strategies to promote the well being of children, youth, families, and their communities in three areas which support children’s learning and development—early childhood education, out-of-school time programming, and family and community support in education—with a commitment to evaluation for strategic decision making, learning, and accountability. HFR focuses on complementary learning, the idea that a systemic approach integrating school and nonschool supports can better ensure that all children have the skills they need to succeed.
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
NICHCY provides information for parents (and others) on disabilities in children and youth, programs and services for infants, children, and youth with disabilities; IDEA, the nation’s special education law; No Child Left Behind, the nation’s general education law; and research-based information on effective practices for children with disabilities.
National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2)
The National Center for Education Research is conducting this study funded by the U.S. Department of Education to document the experiences of a national sample of special education students as they moved from secondary school into adult roles. Data focuses on a wide range of important topics, such as high school coursework, extracurricular activities, academic performance, postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation. Data were collected in part through interviews with youth, parents, and educators.
References and Related Reading
Caplan, J., Hall, G., Lubin, S., & Fleming, R. (1997). Pathways to school improvement (1997). Literature Review of School-Family Partnerships. Retrieved March, 2002. Available online at http://www.neirtec.org/products/techbriefs/10.htm
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).