• Christina Delgado, M.Ed.

Special Education and Parental Involvement

Goal of this blog post:

To motivate, educate, inspire, and prepare our school’s Special Education parents about effective parental involvement, its benefits, and relay strategies meant to increase rates of parental involvement in efforts to better educate and develop their children.

Foundation of the Issue:

For many decades, schools around the world share a lack of parental involvement.

  • —Parental involvement in the academic life of a student in special education is a powerful tool to reach high student achievement and bridge achievement gaps.

  • —Students achieve more educational success when families and schools unite to motivate, educate, and socialize students with special needs.

Parent Perspective: Potential Reasons for the Lack of Parental Involvement:

Common barriers:

  • —Not enough time with the teacher

  • —Feelings of frustration, confusion, and helplessness with the Special Education Process and legal standards.

  • —Teachers’ misconceptions of parents’ capabilities

  • —Limited at home resources

  • —Lack of access

  • —Lack of awareness

  • —Parent/teacher tension

  • —Lack of parent/teacher communication

  • —Linguistic

  • —Cultural

  • —Parent/teacher miscommunication

  • —Linguistic

  • —Cultural

Results of Effective Parental Involvement:


  • —Earn higher scores on tests

  • —Complete more homework

  • —Have better attendance

  • —Improve positive behaviors and attitudes

  • —Higher graduation rates

  • —Higher likelihood of enrolling in colleges, universities, or trade schools

Parents can:

  • —Get involved at home and at school

  • —Model effective learning behaviors

  • —Support productive and desirable choices

  • —Help and guide child to reach current goals and future goals.


  • —Several federal and state laws created to benefit those with special needs, highlight the importance of parent involvement and participation.

  • —The Department of Education created educational “blueprints,” which incorporates collaboration and engagement amongst parents and educators in efforts to improve educational programs.

  • —Parental involvement is the central and underpinning notion of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA).

The Issue: Current Status:

Many schools still need to improve upon their parental involvement.

  • —Decades of research have identified that continuous parental involvement is imperative to bridging achievement gaps, supporting special needs students, building self esteem, and reaching success in their adult lives.

  • —Research shows that once parents become empowered, knowledgeable, and involved in the special education process, the students’ chances for reaching personal success increases.

  • —Our government insists that schools create strategies to incorporate parents in their child’s educational process. However, the government has not mandated any specific or uniformed strategies or requirements on how to get parents involved (Okeke, 2014).

  • —Parents may feel alone, frustrated, and/or helpless while in the world of special education, its laws, and requirements.

  • —It is common for parents feel like they want to help and guide their child, but do not know how to.

How the Lack of Parent Involvement Effects Your Child's Education:

  • —Grades & test scores suffer

  • —Limits student achievement on skills being taught

  • —Homework completion suffers

  • —Effects rates of opportunity to take advanced courses

  • —Attendance suffers

  • —Effects students' self esteem

  • —Effects students' motivation for school

  • —Increased drop out rates

  • —Value of education is lowered

  • —Undesired behaviors and attitudes may emerge

  • —Effect students social and communicative skills

Implications on the Educational Process:

1) Incomplete homework


  • —Homework is district mandated.

  • —Homework is meant to reinforce concepts and skills taught during school.

  • —Homework is not meant to be new or unfamiliar information.

  • —Consistency = retention = learning

  • —Students cannot be fully prepared for school or reach the peak of their academic success if previous lessons and concepts taught are still unclear or forgotten.

  • —Homework completion teaches responsibility, accountability, and should build self esteem by making the student confident about the topic studied.

2) Dwindling attendance

  • —When a student is inconsistent with their attendance, then routine is broken, instruction is lost, and achievement gaps grow.

  • —Each year that a child is in school is a foundational year for them. Their minds are still developing and they are still discovering the world, developing cognitive thinking, and learning how to problem solve.

  • —Academics are like building blocks. If a student missesfoundational information and attends school when more advanced concepts are being taught, the student will not have the prior knowledge needed to grasp new and advanced concepts.

3) Undesired behaviors and attitude

  • —When teaching a class, students vary in strengths, weaknesses, interests, and capacities. Other students’ learning are compromised in the case of reoccurring behavioral issues.

  • —Undesired student attitudes can also be distributive to the other students and classroom instruction being taught.

  • —Once the teacher needs to continually correct a student’s behavior and/or attitude, classroom time is lost and students are not able to maximize the instruction.

  • —Undesired behaviors and attitudes harm the classroom climate and unification.

  • —Other students will be exposed to these undesired behaviors and attitudes and may begin to replicate them. This replication heightens the loss of instruction for all students.

4) Drop out rates

  • —Often times, students who feel that their parents do not care about their learning or are not present effects their desire to learn, motivation, and desire to give effort.

  • —Once a student looses interest in school and continuously receives poor grades, self esteem may be effected.