From Individual to Systemic Advocacy: Parents as Change Agents

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parent advocacy has led to improved educational access and outcomes for students with disabilities. Extant research indicates that parents are more likely to participate in individual advocacy than systemic advocacy. Due to the preponderance of individual advocacy, limited research has focused on systemic advocacy. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore individual and systemic advocacy among parents of children with disabilities. Prior to attending a training on civic engagement, 127 parents from four states participated in English- or Spanish-speaking focus groups. Results indicated participants more frequently engaged in individual advocacy than systemic advocacy and utilized a greater variety of individual advocacy strategies. Additionally, parent advocacy can be developmental, moving from individual to systemic efforts. Participants also identified barriers and facilitators impacting their systemic and individual advocacy. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-247
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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