Perceptions of Parents of Youth with Disabilities Toward School-based Parent Engagement

Document Type


Publication Date



The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) mandated schools engage parents in their child’s educational planning. Despite schools’ adoption of various strategies to promote parent engagement, parents’ perceptions about these strategies, especially among those whose children are at the secondary transition age, are often overlooked. To examine parents’ perceptions of 23 previously documented parent engagement strategies, we conducted a cross-sectional online survey with 642 parents of youth with disabilities (ages 14–21) in the United States. Overall, participants reported that parent engagement strategies were moderately helpful in promoting parent engagement. Parents of color reported lower scores for perceived helpfulness than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Top-rated strategies included making time when parents have questions and communicating strategies clearly; however, this varied by race/ethnicity. Findings highlighted the need to address racial disparities in parent engagement strategies and the importance of school-parent collaboration/communication.