At The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Meghan M. Burke, Sandra Magaña, Marlene Garcia, Maria P. Mello have an article titled: "Brief Report: The Feasibility and Effectiveness of an Advocacy Program for Latino Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder." The abstract:
Latino, Spanish-speaking families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face unique barriers in special education advocacy. Although advocacy programs are becoming more common in the United States, none of these programs target Latino families. This is a pilot study to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of an advocacy program for Latino families of children with ASD. Using a quasi-experimental design, 40 Latino family members of children with ASD participated in this study. Results demonstrated consistent attendance, low attrition, and high participant satisfaction. Intervention (versus control) group participants demonstrated significantly increased empowerment and special education knowledge, and stronger family–school partnerships. Findings provide preliminary support for advocacy programs for Latino families of children with ASD.From the article:
Recognizing the importance of parent involvement, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) embeds many rights for parents such as requiring their consent for evaluations, placement, and special education services. However, parents often struggle to advocate for their children. Latino families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) especially face obstacles in advocacy. For example, special education documents are only made available in English making it difficult for Spanish-speaking parents to advocate (Shapiro et al. 2004). Also, because of the jargon in IDEA, most interpreters do not effectively communicate everything that is said at individualized education program (IEP) meetings thereby relegating Spanish-speaking families to listening roles (Hughes et al. 2002). Furthermore, Latino (versus White) families are more likely to lack information about ASD and relevant services (Mercadante et al. 2009).
Advocacy programs tailored for Latino families may enable families to collaborate with the school and advocate for their children with ASD to receive appropriate services. Given the needs of parents of children with disabilities, special education advocacy programs are becoming increasingly common across the United States (Burke 2013). The purpose of this pilot study was to test the feasibility and effectiveness of the Latino Parent Leadership Support Project (LPLSP, Puente and Castillo 2015)—a 36-h, advocacy training for Spanish-speaking families of children with ASD. Feasibility was operationalized as organizational support (i.e., resources); recruitment and completion rate (i.e., attendance, and attrition); and satisfaction with the intervention (i.e., formative and summative evaluation) (Goddard and Harding 2003). The secondary aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the LPLSP on the empowerment, special education knowledge, family–school partnership, number of services, and parent-school communication of Latino families of children with ASD.
- Burke, M. M. (2013). Improving parental involvement: Training special education advocates. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 23, 225–234
- Goddard, C., & Harding, W. (2003). Selecting the program that’s right for you: A feasibility assessment tool. Waltham: Education Development Center Inc
- Hughes, M. T., Valle-Riestra, D. M., & Arguelles, M. E. (2002). Experiences of Latino families with their child’s special education program. Multicultural Perspectives, 4, 11–17.
- Mercadante, M. T., Evans-Lacko, S., & Paula, C. S. (2009). Perspectives of intellectual disability in Latin American countries: Epidemiology, policy, and services for children and adults. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 22, 469–474.
- Puente, C., & Castillo, M. (2015). Latino parent leadership support project curriculum
- Shapiro, J., Monzo, L. D., Rueda, R., Gomez, J. A., & Blacher, J. (2004). Alienated advocacy: Perspectives of Latina mothers of young adults with developmental disabilities on service systems. Mental Retardation, 42, 37–54.