The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

J. Michael Pickle

Second Advisor

Julie Wilkins

Third Advisor

Trae Downing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Autism Spectrum Disorder


Current research addresses the importance of information exchange and trust between medical professionals and parents of children with autism, but relationships between special educators and parents are often overlooked. Special educators, specifically case managers of children with autism, need to have an understanding of a parent’s viewpoint regarding their child’s autism. Unlike some other medical or cognitive disability categories, autism spectrum disorder is unique in its extreme variety of how mildly or severely impaired a child may be. Through interviews with four parents of children with autism, this thesis explored the experiences that parents had in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process and their perceptions of the extent to which case managers considered their needs and priorities. Findings indicated that initially parents had negative IEP experiences, specifically related to their feeling uninformed and overwhelmed by the content of IEP meetings. Positive parent experiences with case managers and IEP teams resulted from the team’s willingness to develop personal relationships with them and their efforts to research options for their child with autism. Parents described two main situations that were central to their having positive experiences: (a) feeling included and supported in the IEP process, and (b) the IEP team having an accurate understanding of their child.



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