Helping Parents Understand Special Education




Flores, Yaneth

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Dallas ISD serves 15,000 students through special education, which accounts for 10 percent of the Dallas ISD student population (U.S. Department of Education, 2022). All students in special education have An Individualized Education Program (IEP). According to Rios et al. (2021), mothers of children with autism reported feeling stressed and overwhelmed during the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) meetings and when developing IEPs for their children. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Occupational therapy falls under the related services when developing the IEP (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2024.) Related services are additional supportive services provided to children with disabilities to assist them in benefiting from special education (Texas Education Agency, 2023). This capstone project aimed to provide parents with special education resources to help them advocate for their children during ARD meetings. This capstone project designed a digital binder that engages parents in their children's special education process. In the binder, parents are provided with information regarding federal regulations, IEPs, and an overview of ARD meetings. Additionally, parents were able to attend an educational class that provided them with further information. A total of (n=9) parents participated in the educational class that provided them with information regarding the special education process. To evaluate the binder's efficacy, parents were given a pre-survey and post-survey to gather their feedback and opinions on its content and usability. Parents reported feeling more confident in understanding and sharing information regarding special education. This project demonstrates the need for educational resources and step-by-step guidance for parents. Overall, collaboration between parents and occupational therapists can greatly enhance children's educational success.



Occupational therapy, Special education, Parents, IEPs, Advocacy, ARDs, Texas Education Agency, Resources, Website design