Abstract of DissertationClosing the Opportunity Gap: Facilitators of and Barriers to Access and Opportunity from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parent PerspectiveWhen we view the needs of our students through the lens of access and opportunity for students of African American backgrounds then we can begin to move forward towards a more comprehensive and collaborative approach (Jacobs, 2013; Klingner, et al., 2005). Dr. Asa Hilliard (1991) states, “it is a question of whether collectively, as educators and a society, we have the will and vision to educate all children” (cited in Boutte, 2012, p. 517). While the current body of research provides a plethora of information on supporting CLD children and families from the perspective of educators, administrators, and institutions of higher education (Banks, Obiakor, & Algozzine, 2013; Cannon & Luckner, 2016; Chu, 2013; Guardino & Cannon, 2016; Hansuvadah, 2009; Harry, 2008; Olivos, Gallagher, & Aguilar, 2010) there is a significant gap in the research literature as it pertains to the parents of children who are Black and have a disability, and their perspective of disparities in access to resources and opportunity. For the purposes of this study, CLD/E refers to children who are Black or African American and have a disability as defined by IDEIA. There are two purposes for this study. This study will explore the parent voice in discussing the issues of access and experiences for children and families who are CLD/E. The second purpose of this study is to examine the manner in which systems are navigated from the CLD parent point of view, specifically those of the African diaspora. Through examining parents’ experiences, this study will inform the body of research to support the needs of CLD students with disabilities transition throughout their academic careers. This study is guided by the following questions:• How do CLD parents of CLD/E children perceive their child’s disability?• How do CLD parents perceive the supports and services available to assist them in supporting the needs of their CLD/E?• What do CLD parents perceive as the facilitators of and the barriers to access and opportunity for services and resources? When the information is examined more closely, one can see the trend of students with disabilities not accessing high-level opportunities in the realms of employment, education, independent living, and overall quality of life, and how this trend is compounded when the numbers are examined through the lens of culture and language (Bal, Sullivan, & Harper, 2014; Leake, Burgstahler, & Izzo, 2011; National Research Council, 2002; Povenmire-Kirk, Bethune, Alverson, & Kahn, 2015). Further, by focusing on the population of students the research available is limited in scope as it does not address ways in which all stakeholders can work together to improve outcomes, specifically with the voice of parents. CLD students with exceptionality are therefore limited in their ability to access the same or similar opportunities as their same aged peers who are without disability and oftentimes White.
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