Comparing Special Education Experiences Among Spanish- and English-Speaking Parents of Children with Disabilities

Meghan M. Burke, Zach Rossetti, Janeth Aleman-Tovar, Kristina Rios, James Lee, Kristen Schraml-Block, Javier Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Due to systemic barriers, Spanish-speaking (versus English-speaking) parents of children with disabilities are less likely to participate in educational decision-making. However, little research has directly compared special education experiences between both populations. The purpose of this study was to explore the differences and similarities between Spanish-speaking (n = 12) and English-speaking (n = 44) parents of children with disabilities. Specifically, six focus groups were conducted in either English or Spanish in two states. There were three main findings: exacerbated negative experiences (e.g., disempowerment and lack of teacher knowledge) for Spanish-speaking (versus English-speaking) parents, unique communication barriers among Spanish-speaking families and shared barriers among English- and Spanish-speaking parents. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Disability
  • Diversity
  • Families
  • Legislation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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