Title page for ETD etd-12022005-112707

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Brown, Kathleen Marjorie
Author's Email Address kabrown6@vt.edu
URN etd-12022005-112707
Title How Parents of Exceptional Children Describe Their Relationships with Educational Professionals
Degree PhD
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Crockett, Jean B. Committee Chair
Bays, Debora Committee Member
Dawson, Christina M. Committee Member
Doolittle, Peter E. Committee Member
Salmon, Richard G. Committee Member
  • competence
  • communication
  • IDEA
  • disabilities
  • exceptionalities
  • continuity
  • special education
  • caring
Date of Defense 2005-07-28
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between parents of children with exceptionalities and educational professionals. The guiding question of this study was: How do parents of children with exceptionalities describe their relationships with educational professionals? Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological theory and Crockett's (2002) star model for Special Education Planning provided the framework for this qualitative inquiry. Methods included a content analysis of four decades of journal abstracts depicting the past voices of parents of exceptional children. This historical review spanned articles about the following topics: a child's exceptionality being the result of physical or social heredity; educators as experts who train parents; the involvement of parents sought in certain instances; and, finally, professionals seeking out parental impressions and perspectives of educational practices. Current voices of 14 parents of children with exceptionalities were captured by individual and group interviews, as well as observations at an open parent meeting led by state officials. The constant comparative method was used to analyze the qualitative data. The study found current parental dissatisfaction, mainly concerning their relationships with general education professionals. The study's findings were grouped into four thematic categories: Communication, Caring, Competence, and Continuity. A model of parent-professional relationships depicting these categories was developed to inform both special and regular educators of parents' concerns, and, to assist in the establishment and maintenance of ongoing positive relationships.
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