The Effectiveness of a Parent Legislative Advocacy Program

Meghan M. Burke, Linda Sandman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although parents of students with disabilities have several rights accorded by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they infrequently participate in legislative advocacy. Given that Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is expected to be reauthorized within the next few years, it is necessary to educate parents of students with disabilities to engage in broader systemic change. Using a culturally and linguistically diverse sample, this study evaluated the effectiveness of a parent advocacy program. We examined whether the program increased the empowerment, knowledge, and motivation of the participants. We also examined the long-term effects of the advocacy program. Using pre- and postsurveys, we measured change in knowledge of special education and the legislative process, empowerment, and public service motivation of 41 participants in the program. We also conducted 6-month, follow-up surveys with 29 (70.7%) of the participants to measure their legislative advocacy activities. Results indicated that participants demonstrated significant gains in empowerment, knowledge (of special education and the legislative process) and public service motivation. Also, after attending the program, participants engaged in legislative advocacy. This study has important implications about parent legislative advocacy for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • advocacy
  • policy
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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