Two prospective longitudinal studies of nationally representative samples of students with disabilities—the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study and the National Longitudinal Transition Study–2—are used to provide a broad look at the participation of parents of 11- through 19-year-old students with disabilities in Individualized Education Plan/transition planning meetings and their satisfaction with their involvement in them. Students’ attendance and the roles played in their transition planning meetings are also examined. Logistic regression analyses identify disability characteristics; demographics; aspects of parents’ involvement, expectations, and perceptions; experiences in students’ educational histories; and features of their instructional programs that help explain variations in parent and student participation, parent satisfaction, and student roles.
[Excerpt from conclusion]
Federal legislation intends for parents to be equal partners with school staff in educational planning for their children and, for students ages 14 or older (at the time data were collected, now ages 16 or older), to participate in transition planning and for their goals and preferences to drive that process and the resulting transition goals and activities. The findings reported here indicate that the federal intention is not being equally realized for students served under IDEA and their families. For example, rates of IEP/transition planning meeting participation were higher for parents of students with some kinds of disabilities than others, with some levels of income than others, and from some racial/ethnic backgrounds than others. Parents of students who had demonstrated challenging behavior at school or who had poor social skills also found participating in IEP/transition planning meetings to be less than satisfactory.