The purpose of this course is to provide students with information and skills necessary to work in partnerships with the families of individuals with disabilities. The course will give students insight into the perspectives and the experiences of families by examining the factors which shape individual and family functioning. Topics covered will include: family systems theory, communication, assessment, cultural sensitivity, advocacy, legal rights, and the knowledge of available resources.
A secondary goal of this course is to learn to utilize educational research. Published research articles in special education are important tools to be used for the development and evaluation of intervention and assessment instruments. Familiarity with sources of high quality research will improve the professional knowledge of class participants and allow them to continue learning long after they have completed their degree.