Date of Award

Summer 7-30-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Marci Glessner


Special education, Parents, Collaboration, Communication, Definitions, Handbook


Until 1976 and the passing of P.L. 94-482 parents or caregivers of children with disabilities were not significantly involved in the education of their children. Even after this, many parents have felt they were in unknown territory regarding the field of special education. With different types of meetings, definitions, and processes that are not explained in a form that those who have not studied special education would understand, how could there not be unknown territory? Parents are provided with the Parent’s Guide to Special Education (2018) and the Parental Rights for Public School Students Receiving Special Education Services: Notice of Procedural Safeguards (2018) annually throughout their child’s experience in special education. However, even as this document was created for parents, it can be difficult to navigate and comprehend. Parents and teachers should feel connected and understood throughout the special education process, regardless of the process or terms being used.

This project reviewed the literature regarding parent involvement in the special education process and found the themes of communication, collaboration and common understanding. In response and in order to support families and caregivers, a handbook with definitions of common terms, explanations of the purpose and possible outcomes of each meeting in the special education process, an overview of the disability categories of special education, and resources for parents was created. The intent was to help them understand the special education process more thoroughly, ultimately allowing them to be more comfortable with the process – including planning and understanding the progress of their child.



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