Parent Advocacy Across the Lifespan

M. M. Burke, K. A. Patton, C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Services are critical for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). However, due to complicated and insufficiently funded service delivery systems, parents have to advocate for services for their offspring with IDD. To date, although parents of children with IDD advocate from receiving the initial diagnosis until adulthood, no study has examined parent advocacy across the lifespan. In this paper, we examine studies about parent advocacy with respect to four age periods: early childhood, school-based services, transition services, and adulthood. In each period, we examined the need for advocacy, methods of advocacy used, and effect of advocacy. By examining advocacy across the lifespan, we present the similarities and differences in advocacy in relation to the age of the child. Directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-231
Number of pages39
JournalInternational Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - 2016


  • Advocacy
  • Family
  • Parent
  • Services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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