Parent Advocacy Survey

Parent Advocacy

The Clerc Center investigated how parents and caregivers advocate for the needs of their deaf or hard of hearing child. This was a national survey led by Dr. Paul Jacobs, currently the Senior Project Officer at the Victorian Deaf Education Institute, and Dr. Christen Szymanski, a psychologist in the Office of Educational Planning and Support at KDES.

This is the first known research study specifically designed to examine how parents advocate for the educational accommodations and related services for their deaf or hard of hearing child. This online survey asked parents and caregivers about their experiences and beliefs about advocating for their deaf or hard of hearing children and was disseminated through Odyssey magazine and e-distribution lists, at conferences, and on the Clerc Center website. The goals of this study were to:

  • Better understand what challenges caregivers and parents experienced when advocating for the needs of their child,  
  • Identify the resources and strategies that parents and caregivers have used to successfully advocate for their children who are deaf or hard of hearing,  
  • Recognize the factors that may negate a parent to advocate for their child, and  
  • Identify the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful advocacy attempts.

Slightly more than 1,000 people participated in the online survey. Preliminary findings include:

  • 91% were parents or caregivers of deaf or hard of hearing children
  • When asked about resources parent respondents found helpful for their advocacy efforts, websites was most frequently selected (54%) followed by informal parent sharing (47%) and parent support groups (40%)
  • Parents were asked if they took a parent advocacy training course; 129 reported they did, and 98% of these parents said the course improved their knowledge of how to advocate

Complete findings will be shared in the final report. These results will be used to support the Clerc Center’s development of resources to assist parents and professionals with advocacy efforts. Survey findings will also guide the development of a parent advocacy survey for families of color and a survey for educators related to parent advocacy.

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