Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the satisfaction and understanding of parents of young children with disabilities in North Texas in regard to the special education services they receive through their local education authority. A mixed non-experimental research design utilizing the survey method was used to obtain the data collected from a sample of 230 parents with children with disabilities from preschool to elementary ages. Factorial analysis techniques were first used to assess the validity of the 14 quantitative items by splitting the sample into 2 equivalent groups: the development group and the validation group. Exploratory factor analysis extracted 2 factors after eliminating 4 items: satisfaction and understanding. This 2-factor structure was confirmed in the validation group. The final 10-item survey demonstrated satisfactory reliability and validity. Overall, parents were very satisfied with the special education services and reported a good understanding of those services. Two x two (number of children x years of services) ANOVAs were used to examine the differences on parental satisfaction and understanding. No statistically significant differences were found except that parents with 2 or 3 children were more satisfied than the counterparts with only 1 child in the special education program. This difference was practically meaningful. Data provided by 4 open-ended questions revealed that parent training and communication were the most popular strategies mentioned as methods to increase parental understanding of the special education process. The best sources of receiving special education information were ARD committees and teachers/diagnosticians. Excessive and wordy paperwork was the least helpful source of information regarding receiving special education. Postal-mail and the ARD meetings with diagnosticians were the best methods of acquiring special education information. Findings from this study, especially on the open-ended questions, suggested the special education program and services can be improved to better serve the parents and ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Livingstone, Elisabeth
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation