Document Type

Special Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education


Professional Studies


Special Education

First Advisor

Rama Cousik, PhD, Chair

Committee Members

Rama Cousik, PhD, Chair, Jeong-il Cho, PhD, Jane M. Leatherman, PhD

Date of Award



Families with children with disabilities are all around us; our schools; our neighborhoods, our friends, even our own families. Researchers have invested time and energy in investigating issues that affect persons with disabilities, but few have allowed the expression of voices of the families with children with disabilities. This research delves into four main areas that families encounter regularly; stress, support, education and advocacy. It continues by examining these factors as they affect families with children with disabilities and also aims to investigate where they find resources and support around them. The culmination of this research investigation is a manual that describes the issues and challenges that novice families of children with disabilities should be cognizant of, in their quest for social, emotional, and professional support.


Special Education and Teaching