Title

Seeking Occupational Justice: Parents of Children with Disabilities

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Larson

Start Time

24-10-2008 2:00 PM

End Time

24-10-2008 2:30 PM

Abstract

Although intended to be family-friendly, parents often feel they struggle against the system to attain services for their child with a disability. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of parents working with professionals in acquiring and maintaining services for their child. Forty-four caregivers from diverse ethnic (White, Hispanic, & Native American) and socioeconomic backgrounds participated in in-depth qualitative interviews. A semi-structured guide inquired about parents' experience with professionals who were or were not helpful, any conflicts or circumstances where they felt their perspective was "discounted", and their "ideal" professional partner. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and transcriptions' accuracy verified via audio-tapes. Transcripts were coded initially using an open-coding procedure, additional iterations of coding were used to refine the coding scheme, codes were then grouped and collapsed into categories that described key processes parents used to acquire and maintain services for their children or impediments to this work. Key findings suggest that 1) parents intended to acquire occupational justice, or a parity of occupational opportunities for their child with special needs through the services system; 2) this effort was plagued with uncertainty in discerning the right course, and plagued with negative social interactions (such as the child being viewed as a "container" of a disability rather than a whole person), and 3) this work included managing "expelling" threats (children being rejected from classes or services due to their behaviors), service gaps (between providers, between grades or due to lack of funding) and insufficient services.

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Oct 24th, 2:00 PM Oct 24th, 2:30 PM

Seeking Occupational Justice: Parents of Children with Disabilities

Although intended to be family-friendly, parents often feel they struggle against the system to attain services for their child with a disability. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of parents working with professionals in acquiring and maintaining services for their child. Forty-four caregivers from diverse ethnic (White, Hispanic, & Native American) and socioeconomic backgrounds participated in in-depth qualitative interviews. A semi-structured guide inquired about parents' experience with professionals who were or were not helpful, any conflicts or circumstances where they felt their perspective was "discounted", and their "ideal" professional partner. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and transcriptions' accuracy verified via audio-tapes. Transcripts were coded initially using an open-coding procedure, additional iterations of coding were used to refine the coding scheme, codes were then grouped and collapsed into categories that described key processes parents used to acquire and maintain services for their children or impediments to this work. Key findings suggest that 1) parents intended to acquire occupational justice, or a parity of occupational opportunities for their child with special needs through the services system; 2) this effort was plagued with uncertainty in discerning the right course, and plagued with negative social interactions (such as the child being viewed as a "container" of a disability rather than a whole person), and 3) this work included managing "expelling" threats (children being rejected from classes or services due to their behaviors), service gaps (between providers, between grades or due to lack of funding) and insufficient services.