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The Effects of A Parent-to-Parent Advocacy Program for Low-resourced Minority Parents of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Other Disabilities: Empoderando Padres

  • Author(s): LUELMO, PAUL
  • Advisor(s): Kasari, Connie
  • et al.
Abstract

This study was designed to rigorously test, using randomization, a parent-to-parent advocacy mentorship program for parents of children with ASD within a low-income, mostly Latino population. The study design includes randomization to a parent IEP advocacy mentorship or to receive the program materials after intervention. Specifically, this dissertation study addresses the following research questions: RQ1: Does a parent-to-parent advocacy mentorship program for parents of young children with ASD increase their advocacy knowledge (i.e. their rights under IDEA)? RQ2: Does a parent-to-parent advocacy mentorship program for parents of children with ASD increase their family empowerment and family outcomes (i.e. their likelihood to exercise their rights under IDEA)? RQ3: What are the strengths and challenges of implementing a parent-to-parent mentorship program within an urban low-income, mostly Latino context? Therefore, this dissertation study examines the effects of PARENT- a parent-to-parent advocacy mentorship program for parents of children with ASD and other disabilities—on parent empowerment and advocacy knowledge. A total of thirty parent enrolled in the study Parents and were randomly assigned to receive the PARENT intervention or to a CONTROL group. Parents in the PARENT group (n=15) participated in 3 one-on-one meetings (biweekly from January 2018-March 2018) with a community Parent Mentor (PM) at the parent’s home or a public space. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant increase in parents’ IEP advocacy knowledge (i.e. their rights under IDEA) for parents in the PARENT group when compared to the CONTROL group. There were no statistically significant differences between the PARENT group and the CONTROL group for family empowerment or family outcomes. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 9 participants in the PARENT group. These parents reported feeling very grateful for the information they received and found the program to be very effective. Further directions are discussed, such as simplifying the logistics of intervention implementation (e.g., session schedules).

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