The Meaning and Nature of Parental Advocacy in the Early Years

Kristen Schraml-Block, Michaelene M. Ostrosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Families who have children with delays or disabilities are often expected to become advocates for their children. Despite this inherent expectation, there is limited research available focused on advocacy during the early years (birth to three). The purpose of this study was to use qualitative inquiry, specifically semi-structured interviews, to explore 15 parents’ meanings of and experiences with advocacy in the early years. Thematic and constant comparative analyses were used and subsequently 22 codes within six major categories were identified. Three major findings related to the meaning and nature of advocacy in the early years involved: (a) education and being a voice for children are critical components of parents’ constructed definitions of advocacy; (b) parents engage in a variety of advocacy interactions, across formal and informal settings, prior to and during Early Intervention; and (c) and parental advocacy requires capital resources. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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