Legislative Advocacy Among Parents of Children With Disabilities

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the past, parents of children with disabilities have spearheaded several policies for individuals with disabilities. However, little is known about their experiences with legislators. To address this gap, focus groups and surveys about legislative advocacy were conducted with 127 parents of individuals with disabilities across four states. The purpose of the study was to explore parent perceptions about experiences with legislative advocacy including the frequency of, strategies for, and barriers to legislative advocacy. Descriptive statistics were conducted to analyze the survey data; constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the focus group data. Participants reported engaging in various forms of legislative advocacy. Participants shared positive and negative experiences interacting with legislators, including individual and collective advocacy efforts. Some participants did not engage in legislative advocacy due to intimidation. Relationships facilitated legislative advocacy for participants. Implications for future research about legislative advocacy and practices to facilitate legislative advocacy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • advocacy
  • civic engagement
  • legislation
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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