Date of Award

Spring 3-31-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Patrick Ainsworth

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Timothy McCarty


Parental Expectations and Perspectives as They Relate to Their Children with Special Education Needs (SEN) During Transition From Early Intervention/Preschool to Kindergarten

By Arika Spencer-Brown

The purpose of this study was to define parent perspective and expectation as it pertains to their children with special needs transition process using a descriptive method. This study was designed to assess the perception and expectation of third year and first year Head Start families and provide insight into how effective their special needs transition was from preschool into kindergarten and the individuals related to the overall development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Parents not only rely on their own instinct but the information supplied through the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) created by an early education team, also known as Information Agents. Information Agents is a group comprised of preschool administration, child’s teacher, mental health/disabilities coordinator, learning consultant, mental health consultant and intern, speech and language pathologist, physical therapist, behaviorist, outside Local Education Agency (LEA) (Eagan & Gillis, 2011), and The Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) which is a collaborative consortium that supports special education Needs (SEN) services for children and training for parents and educators in order to maintain healthy and enriching environments. Federal and state laws reinforce the importance of planning for the educational transitions of students within viii special needs. The essential nature of parent/child/teacher relationships consistently influence and impact the transition process. This study utilized a qualitative methodology approach to identify and describe parental expectations and perspectives related to their level of involvement, level of inclusion versus exclusion, and the effectiveness of the Information Agents who lead the process. Each affects the transition of preschool children with special needs to the primary grades. The qualitative methodology approach examines the decision making process teachers and administrators utilize and their ability to solicit parent perspective regarding a child’s capacity to deal with transition. Lastly, this qualitative study also examines critical aspects of the transition process related to children with developmental delays. Qualitative research was conducted through one on one semi-structured/open-ended interviews. The results were presented as discussion of themes based on words, not statistics using the Nvivo for qualitative research.