Date Published: Jun 1, 2014
Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Mueller, T.G. & Buckley, P.C.
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Research about parent experiences with the special education system is largely dominated from mothers’ perspectives. This article will present a qualitative interview study of the overlooked voice: fathers of children with disabilities. Twenty fathers were interviewed about their experiences navigating the system for their child. Three key experiences surfaced during data analysis: Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, collaboration with educators, and conflict. The fathers reported that IEP meetings exemplify an overwhelming and insufficient process in need of restructuring. Findings indicated that effective collaboration with educators require building relationships, establishing communication, and listening to the parent voice. The fathers also discussed addressing conflict with educators through two strategies: fighting the battle and/or coming together for a resolution. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. [article abstract]