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Case Studies in Building Equity Through Family Advocacy in Special Education

A Companion Volume to Meeting Families Where They Are

Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg Beth Harry Alfredo J. Artiles

216 pages
Teachers College Press

You’ve read the history and the background, now meet the families! This companion book to Meeting Families Where They Are traces the advocacy journeys of 12 caregivers across a range of racial, ethnic, social, disability, economic, and family identities. The stories reflect the unique lives, histories, and needs of each family, as well as the different approaches they employ to meet the needs of their children. Caregivers indicate when they began to advocate; describe how they continue their efforts across schools, medical offices, therapies, communities, and virtual spaces; and discuss how they adapt to changing social and health climates and educational delivery modes. While highlighting gaps and challenges across multiple systems, this book also recognizes “what’s working” with stories of true collaboration between practitioners and everyday people. This guidebook is essential reading for parent advocates, teachers, administrators, physicians, health care personnel, therapists, policymakers, and community members invested in creating a culture of respect, love and understanding.

Book Features:

  • Emphasizes how families have resisted the deficit-based view of their children while still utilizing systems of support.
  • Incorporates the fields of special education and disability studies in education.
  • Uses the framework of DisCrit to explore how disability and other social identities operate in tandem, examining concepts such as power, access, privilege, and barriers.
  • Positions caregivers as experts in their children’s lives, illustrating how they advocate for their children, teens, and young adults.
  • Takes a deep dive into the nuances of generational, cultural, organizational, and geographical factors that impact how caregivers advocate.
  • Resists approaches that typically involve professionals dictating what families need, centering instead on a collaborative model that includes families and professionals.
  • Shares collective wisdom to assist parents who are new to the advocacy platform or are feeling discouraged with the process.
Author Bio

Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg is a lecturer at the University of Miami and advocate for families of children, teens, and adults with disabilities. Beth Harry is a professor emeritus of special education at the University of Miami, and coauthor of Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? Second Edition.