Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

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FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary

In this project entitled "Community Conversations to Increase Civic Engagement and Capacity for Students with Disabilities", over one year, we will conduct community conversations with 600 disability community members to improve special education policy. This project's goal is to increase civic engagement and community capacity within the disability community across urban, suburban, and rural areas, in English and Spanish. There are four research objectives (ROs): (RO1) How does the disability community intentionally dialogue about improving special education policy? Specifically, within the disability community, what facilitates or hinders civic engagement about special education policy?; (RO2) How do attendees view the capacity of the disability community to address special education policy via civic engagement?; (RO3) What new insights emerged from the Community Conversations?; Do insights differ across the urban, suburban, and rural areas and languages?; and (RO4) How do the Community Conversations impact community capacity and civic engagement over time?

This collaborative project includes "The Team": Dr. Burke, graduate research assistants, advocates, and community partners: Family Matters, Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) and Grupo Salto. Family Matters and FRCD are Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs), which empower parents of children with disabilities. Each state has at least one PTI (N = 73). In Illinois, FRCD serves urban and suburban families; Family Matters serves rural families. Grupo Salto serves 550 Latino parents of individuals with disabilities. Outcomes are: presentations and articles; a website in English and Spanish; action plans; and testimonials.

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