Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Kate Ascetta


This study was motivated by the fact that there is an overrepresentation of child­ren from minority backgrounds with disabilities in the United States school system (Ar­tiles & Trent, 1994; Cartledge, 1999; Chinn & Hughes, 1987). In considering factors causing the inequality in the special education system, this study explored (a.) parents' access to information regarding the preschool special education system and (b.) how that access to information affects parents' ability to advocate on behalf of their young child­ren with disabilities. Through twelve anonymous surveys and six interviews with par­ents, information was collected regarding who has and does not have access to informa­tion; what information parents have and do not have; where parents get information; and how effectively they are able to advocate for the children once they have information. The findings are twofold: first, parents, regardless of background, do not have enough information about the preschool special education system; and second, parents require access to information to advocate successfully on behalf of their preschool-aged children with special needs. The study was unable to determine the quantity and quality of infor­mation, to which parents of diverse backgrounds have access. The author hopes that the findings and recommendations presented herein will galvanize further examination of this topic and enable parents to more easily obtain information regarding the special educa­tion system so that they can best help their preschool-aged children receive the support they require and the education they deserve.


Early Childhood Special and General Education (Program of study)

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