Jackson, Lewis (Lewis B.)

Committee Member

Ferrel, Kay Alicyn, 1948

Committee Member

Milian, Madeline

Committee Member

Luckner, John L.


Special Education


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





382 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Parent expectations have been acknowledged as powerful predictors of positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities; however, recent research continues to report poor outcomes for students with significant disabilities who are culturally and linguistically diverse. In previous research, the need for parental involvement during the transition process has been established, and this need is even more critical for students who have significant support needs because it is likely that family members will be the primary caregivers throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, the literature has failed to comprehensively address the experiences and perceptions of parents that represent both minority cultures and significant disabilities in the transition process. Thus, this study explored culturally diverse parental perspectives of and experiences with the transition services being provided to their children with significant disabilities. Participants in this study included five culturally diverse families, each having a child with a significant disability who was receiving transition services through the public school system. The primary research question this study addressed was: What are the experiences and perspectives of parents who are culturally and linguistically diverse on the transition services being provided to their children with significant disabilities? Data were collected using multiple in-depth interviews with each family, observations conducted in the family home, demographic sheets filled out by participants, and IEP document reviews. The data were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Responses indicated that participants viewed their children as reflections and extensions of themselves. Based on these views, participants identified goals and dreams for the future lives of their children with significant disabilities. Unfortunately, negative experiences within different systems, lack of resources, and lack of opportunities served as barriers to the achievement of these goals and dreams for their children. Participants felt the need to use specific strategies to overcome these barriers. The deeper understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by culturally diverse families of transition-age children with significant disabilities provided by this study indicates a need for further research in this area and reform of current educational and adult agency services.


Full text released from 2-year embargo in August 2013.

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