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Family Involvement


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.

A literature review conducted by the National Center on Secondary Transition Education and the National Postschool Outcomes Center (Test, Fowler, & Kohler, 2013) found that:

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.

See "Family Involvement" and "Parent-Professional Collaboration" in the A-Z Library of Terms and Resources for additional information and resources.


Resources and Research

NEW! Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families
http://www.project10.info/file/TransitionRoadmapFinalFormat4Printing_6.6.16pdf

Project 10 has just released a fresh, new resource that will assist families to become familiar with graduation and post-school options available to students with disabilities. This eight-page booklet, Secondary Transition Roadmap for Families, shares easy-to-follow directions that guide families and students toward transition destinations- to graduation and beyond.

Beach Center on Disability
http://www.beachcenter.org 
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
http://www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/family-involvement-in-the-education-of-secondary-school-age-students-with-disabilities 
This research digest from the Harvard Family Research Project examines the following questions for students with disabilities receiving special education in secondary schools:

  • To what extent do families of secondary-school-age students with disabilities engage in activities at home and at school that support their children's educational development?
  • What are the relationships between student and family characteristics and levels of family involvement?

Seven Indicators of a Quality Transition System, Behavioral Institute for Children and Adolescents
http://www.behavioralinstitute.org/FreeDownloads/TIPS/Transition-Seven%20Quality%20Indicators.pdf 
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 Involvement: Exceptional Student Education
http://forparents.florida-ese.org/
The parent involvement website from the Bureau of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services (BEESS) features information for parents of students receiving exceptional student education services in Florida, including related contacts, success stories and a glossary of terms. 

Parent and Family Involvement Annotated Bibliography Prepared for NSTTAC
http://nsttac.appstate.edu/content/parent-and-family-involvement-annotated-bibliography-prepared-nsttac-dawn-rowe
The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) provides evidence-based practices on a number of topics including family involvement.  

Transition Information for Parents
http://www.pacer.org/parent/index.asp
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
http://www.taalliance.org/resources/Research.asp
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)
http://www.hfrp.org/family-involvement
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)
http://nichcy.org/families-community
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)
http://www.nlts2.org
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.

What Parents and Caregivers Can Ask and Do to Help Children Thrive at School: A Parent Checklist 
http://www2.ed.gov/documents/family-community/parent-checklist.pdf 
The U.S. Department of Education, America Achieves, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) collaborated to develop a parent checklist with questions and resources that parents and caregivers can use to help ensure their children are getting the education they deserve. The checklist suggests key questions, tips for educational success and resources for more information.


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

Henderson, A. T., & Berla, N. (1994). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. St. Louis, MO: Danforth Foundation and Flint, MI: Mott Foundation.

Test, D.W., Fowler, C.H., Richter, S.M., White, J., Mazzotti, V., Walker, A.R., Kohler, P., & Kortering, L. (2009, August). Evidence-based practices in secondary transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 115-128. Available at http://www.nsttac.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdf/pdf/ebps/ExecsummaryPPs.pdf

Test, D.W., Fowler, C., and Kohler, P. (2013, January). Evidence-based practices and predictors in secondary transition: What we know and what we still need to know. Charlotte, NC: National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. Available at http://nsttac.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdf/pdf/ebps/ExecsummaryPPs%20Jan2013.pdf


 


Project 10: Transition Education Network
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