Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Exceptional Student Education

First Advisor's Name

Elizabeth Cramer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Linda Blanton

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Maria Elena Villar

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maria Lovett

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


haitian, american, parent, involvement, perceptions, teacher, education, ESE, exceptional, student, south, florida

Date of Defense



Parental involvement is legally mandated requirement in schools across the United States, and prevalent in special education legislation. However, methods for increasing and promoting parent involvement of minority subgroups in low socioeconomic areas are scarce. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and describe Haitian parents’ perceptions of their involvement in a structured parent intervention program and to describe the perceptions of their children’s teachers concerning the parents’ involvement in the program.

In this study, the researcher used a descriptive qualitative case study methodology. All participants in the 5-month program implementation were interviewed at three points throughout the program. (pre, mid, and post). Findings of the present study revealed that these parents’ feelings towards parent involvement evolved throughout their participation in the program. Participants went from reported feelings of separation between home and school, to understanding the important role they can play in education. Additionally, as reported by the students’ teachers, the parents’ increased involvement and presence in the school/classroom had a positive impact on their children’s social and academic development. Through their participation in the program, as evidenced through interview responses, parents’ confidence increased as well as their ability to overcome initially identified barriers to involvement including English language acquisition, lack of time, an unclear understanding of special education services, and feeling un-wanted.

This study found that parents’ perceptions of their participation were guided by two categories of motivators as identified through coding of interview responses: intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators. Through the program, parents who were intrinsically motivated to be involved in their child’s education embraced the whole program. Those who were extrinsically motivated also became more involved, however, their motivation was more dependent on society and perceived success of their child and their parenting.

Perceptions of parent participants concerning their involvement in the program was found to be defined by the American culture in which their children are growing up, but equally in part by their Haitian roots and remaining ties to the island. Through their participation in the program, the parents were able to identify and explore opportunities for involvement, develop relationships with their children’s teachers, better understand the purpose of an IEP, and better themselves as individuals to in turn better the lives of their children.





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