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The Perceptions of Language Minority Parents Regarding Informed Consent in the Special Education Process Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationThe Perceptions of Language Minority Parents Regarding Informed Consent in the Special Education ProcessThis study examined the experiences of bilingual parents who have a child with a disability, during two points in the special education process, eligibility and IEP. This study was designed to interpret parents’ experiences using Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and Social Dominance Theory (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999) in order to draw conclusions as to if parents provide informed consent. The population included nine parents of students with disabilities. The parents all identified as Hispanic, native Spanish speakers, and as a primary caretaker of the child with a disability. Basic qualitative research (Merriam, 2009) was conducted, and study data was collected by a semi-structured interview protocol. The interviews were conducted by the researcher, or a qualified Spanish speaker if needed. Data was transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative analysis to determine emerging themes. The study’s results provided evidence on parents’ perceptions on the special education process impact their provision to provide informed consent. Parents perceived they were involved in the special education process, they used relationships with others to find support in the special education process, and they perceived barriers to participating in the special education process. Analysis of these findings on parental perceptions during the IEP process reveal that bilingual parents are not providing informed consent. Recommendations that can be implemented at a teacher, school, or policy level are made.

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