Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Christine McCormick


Legislation of the 1970's and 80's mandated parental involvement in the development of special education plans for children with disabilities. The literature has indicated that parents are often passive recipients of information (Goldstein, Strickland, Turnbull, & Curry, 1980) even though parent involvement in a child's education has been associated with academic success (Epstein, 1990). An observational analysis of eighteen IEP conferences for children with hearing impairments receiving services through the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education Cooperative was completed. Observers recorded the frequency of verbal participation by the parents, and parents and teachers completed questionnaires addressing satisfaction and perceptions of involvement following the meeting. Relationships among parent variables, levels of verbal participation, parent ratings of satisfaction, and teacher ratings of parent involvement were analyzed using Pearson correlational data. Results indicate that for the population observed, parent satisfaction levels were high regardless of verbal participation levels. The length and size of the meetings as well as the age of the child were associated with parent satisfaction ratings. Parent levels of verbal participation ranged from 31 to 81 percent, and appear to be higher than ratings reported in previous observational studies (Turnbull & Hughes, 1987). Levels of verbal participation were not significantly correlated with measures of parent satisfaction, nor with teacher perceptions of parental involvement. Three main trends were indicated by the results obtained: 1) The number of participants at meetings was associated with the length of the meeting; 2) longer meetings were associated with lower percentages of verbal participation from parents; and 3) reports of active parental preparation prior to the IEP meeting was associated with higher teacher ratings of parental involvement. Limitations of the study include a small sample size, a limited variety of subjects (mostly married white women with high school or higher education levels), and vague parental responses to open ended questions. Further research regarding parental participation for the hearing impaired as well as other populations is encouraged.