Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parents’ Perceptions of Their Involvement in Decision-Making During Individualized Education Plan Meetings



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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires local education agencies to include parents as equal team members in cultivating their child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Despite the law, studies have shown that parents experience barriers to being included in the decision-making for their child in IEP meetings. Barriers, such as a lack of information, understanding the law, and feeling of unequal status or power compared to school district team members, have been noted by previous research. This study explored the perceptions, feelings, and understanding of the IEP development process experienced by parents from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed to understand the parents’ lived experience of participating in decision-making during the IEP meeting. A purposive sample of three Arabic CLD parents from a city in southeast Texas were recruited, by the researcher, to reflect on their experience and respond to the in-depth semi-structured interview questions. Analysis of the participants' reflections on their lived experiences revealed several personal experiential themes (PETs), which made up the final three Group Experiential Themes (GETs): aiming for knowledge; pursuing progress; and seeking success. The findings of this study suggest that IEP meetings with CLD parents are focused on compliance with the law rather than providing CLD parents the opportunity to participate effectively in decision-making during the IEP meeting.



Arab CLD Parents, IEP, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.