Date Published: Mar 2, 2023
Teaching Exceptional Children
Ya-Chih Chang, Mariela Avila, and Hannah Rodriguez
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Parent participation in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process is a critical factor in improving the effectiveness of children’s special education programs and services. However, many families, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds, are unfamiliar with the IEP process and their rights under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For families with young children with special needs in preschool, this process may be even more daunting when they may have just transitioned from early intervention services to the school system. The article will focus on the critical need for early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers to support and empower families to become active participants in their child’s IEP. The article will 1) examine the importance of cultural self-awareness in developing collaborative relationships with families, 2) discuss supports for CLD families, and 3) provide an easy-to-follow checklist for ECSE teachers as they support and empower CLD families to become active participants in their children’s IEP.