Carla Braun

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Special education; Elementary education; Education


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of low-income, minority parents and guardians of primary-aged children in the special education process using a strengths-based perspective. Minority students are currently overrepresented in the field of special education; thus, this study sought to to uncover possible reasons for that occurrence. This study was conducted in a school district in a suburban city outside of Chicago, Illinois. Four participants, three mothers and one grandmother who was legal guardian of her grandchild, were observed in one special education meeting each, participated in two one-on-one interviews, and took part in a focus group discussion. The data were member checked, transcribed, and coded. Themes were concluded from the data. The findings of this study illustrated the need for a reexamination of the special education process. It was determined that parents/guardians should feel empowered and be provided with supports from school personnel. Parents/guardians should also be clearly informed of their legal rights, so they can best help their child(ren) grow.


Advisors: Elizabeth A. Wilkins.||Committee members: Shi-Ruei S. Fang; Eui-kyung Shin.||Includes bibliographical references.


142 pages




Northern Illinois University

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