Graduation Year

Spring 2011

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Tomoe Kanaya

Rights Information

© 2011 Michelle Harvey


This study attempted to improve upon previous qualitative research by conducting a large scale, quantitative study on the parental experience in special education. 76 parents of children receiving special education services were surveyed regarding their communication with school personnel, the focus of their child’s education, involvement in the IEP meeting, and satisfaction. It was found that parental perception of involvement did not predict active IEP involvement, more communication with school personnel, more satisfaction with services received, or the belief the child is benefiting. An active role in the IEP meeting, though, did predict more satisfaction with the last IEP meeting, more satisfaction with the time the child spends in the educational setting, and the parent believing the child is benefiting. Other findings include the focus of the child’s education changing depending on the age of the child, and that leading the IEP discussion has no relationship to perceived parental involvement or active IEP involvement. Conclusions can be made that parental perception does not result in what is actually happening and that an active parental role in the IEP meeting benefits the child the most.