Educational psychology; Sociology
The purpose of the following exploratory study is to examine the interest levels, barriers and motivating factors influencing attendance at informational Parent Group Meetings held for parents of children who are part of the special education preschool program- both the Developmental Learning Program (DLP) and Integrated preschool classroom- in the Cranston Public School System. Existing literature expresses the importance of parent involvement in special education services, some of the barriers to participation, and the importance of periodically evaluating parents’ needs. A Needs Assessment Survey was sent out to approximately 85 families involved in the DLP/Integrated Preschool Program in the Cranston Public School System. Twenty-six surveys were returned, and the data collected indicates that there is an interest among more than half of the respondents in attending a parent group; however there are significant barriers such as time conflicts and lack of childcare that prevent the majority of those interested from actually attending. The implications of this study revolve around the important roles the school staff, and the school social worker in particular, have in helping parents feel supported and encouraging parental involvement.