Dr. Akilah Nelson
The Families of Children with Disabilities (Families) topic supports research that contributes to the identification of effective strategies for families and/or school personnel to improve family involvement for children with or at risk for disabilities in ways that improve education outcomes for these students from kindergarten through Grade 12.
This topic was developed in FY 2012 because parent involvement in education and strong family–school partnerships are seen as critical for achieving optimal developmental outcomes and educational success for students with disabilities. The majority of the parent involvement literature, however, focuses on students without disabilities. When studies do examine parent involvement and students with disabilities, the work often focuses on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act legally mandated activities, such as participation in Individual Education Program meetings.
Students with disabilities, however, may require a greater degree of parental involvement and more active engagement than their peers without disabilities. Little is known, for example, about effective strategies for increasing the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in ways that improve the education, social, behavioral, functional, or transition outcomes of children with disabilities. In addition, little is known about effective strategies and the professional development needed for teachers and other educational personnel to support the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in ways that improve the outcomes of these children. The long-term outcome of this program will be an array of tools and strategies (e.g., assessments, programs, services, interventions) that have been documented to be effective for improving family involvement and support of children with disabilities in ways that ultimately improve education and transition outcomes of students with disabilities from kindergarten through Grade 12.
NCSER has invested over $3 million in the Families of Children with Disabilities program.
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