Date of Award



© 2020 Deborah Perry

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Suzan Nelson

Second Advisor

Corrina Crafton

Third Advisor

Wayne Holland


Special educators face a growing number of legal implications as they strive to meet students’ needs as identified on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Once identified as requiring special education services, students have an (IEP) to track their progress on goals and objectives. All IEP meetings require the family’s attendance and feedback as part of the process. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) noted that parent feedback is required in the IEP document. This study collected information about parents’ perceptions of the IEP process. Individual interviews were completed with 13 engaged parents to document their experiences working through the IEP process. The themes identified were the need for regular communication, the need for simplification of the documents and parents’ experience of overwhelm. Parents’ feedback was minimal throughout the special education process. The researcher documented parents’ feedback about how their input could be used to improve their child’s educational outcomes. This study found communication from school staff to parents is crucial to improving their engagement in the IEP process. Another finding was that the special education process should be simplified as it is overwhelming for parents. The special education process is very lengthy and legalistic and the researcher found the process makes it hard for parents to stay engaged. Parents felt the special education team valued their feedback but wished the process could be changed to support more family engagement. Parents recommended developing a handbook to provide clear guidelines that could strengthen parent support and support the transition process.


Ed.D. Dissertation