In the voices of parents: Suggestions for the next IDEA reauthorization

Meghan M. Burke, Linda Sandman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since its initial passage in 1975, parent involvement had been a cornerstone of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, parents face many barriers in voicing their concerns to professionals. One way for parents to share their insights and create systemic change is during an IDEA reauthorization. Yet, although the public is afforded the opportunity to provide feedback during a reauthorization, individual parent input is frequently under-represented. In this study, across urban, suburban, and rural regions of a state, we asked parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (N = 49) to provide videotaped testimonies about their concerns regarding IDEA. After qualitatively analyzing their testimonies, we found that parents wanted the next IDEA reauthorization to add supports (including applied behavior analysis services and teacher-student ratios), provide specificity regarding certain provisions (i.e., transition, least restrictive environment, and eligibility criteria for learning disabilities), and maintain or increase stipulations (paperwork provisions and federal funding, respectively). Implications for future research and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalResearch and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Advocacy
  • Family involvement
  • Low-incidence disabilities
  • Parent
  • Special education policy
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'In the voices of parents: Suggestions for the next IDEA reauthorization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this