Date of Completion


Embargo Period



individualized education program, perception, parent

Major Advisor

Mary Beth Bruder, PhD

Associate Advisor

Sally Reiss, PhD

Associate Advisor

Nicholas Gelbar, PhD

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, most recently reauthorized in 2004, explicitly reinforces the role of parents as partners with school professionals in the education of their children with disabilities. As members of the individualized education program (IEP) team, parents participate in all decisions about their child’s educational program. Research on parents’ perceptions of their experiences in their children’s individualized education program (IEP) meetings however, documents a lack of meaningful participation and involvement in decision-making. In this study, a researcher-developed survey was utilized to investigate the perceptions of parents of children with disabilities in grades three through five. Thirty-four parents completed an online survey and were asked to rate their agreement, using a five point Likert-type scale, with a series of twelve statements about their experiences in IEP meetings. In this study, two open-ended questions provided qualitative data on parents’ descriptions of their best and worst experiences at IEP meetings. The results of this study indicate parents are not participating in decision-making about their child’s educational program. Fifty-six percent of parents disagreed with the statement that their school’s team listens and responds to the concerns the parent has about their child’s school program. In addition, fifty-nine percent of parents indicated they did not have enough time to read reports before decisions were made at IEP meetings. No significant differences in parent perceptions were found across groups of parents (including parents of boys versus girls, parents from different socioeconomic groups, parents with different educational backgrounds, parents of children in different grades or parents of children with different disabilities). The results of this study indicate that parents continue to struggle to participate meaningfully in the decision-making responsibility of the IEP team. Limitations in the sample size, representativeness of the sample, and statistical power of this study should be considered when interpreting the results.