Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Huffman

Second Advisor

Dr. Ginny Birky

Third Advisor

Dr. Scot Headley


Recent changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) position parents as a mandatory participant in the special education process. Additionally, these revisions to laws mandating increased student access to general education environment have served to increase interest on the topic of inclusion. Despite this legislation, the field of special education continues to be ripe with controversy about parent advocacy. Especially contentious is parental advocacy for inclusive placements for their children. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to learn about the lived experience of five parents advocating for inclusion of their children who experience disability within a large suburban school district in Oregon. Despite over 40 years of legislation and judicial action designed to support their children’s access to quality instruction, this study illuminates the advocacy challenges that still remain for parents. The data analysis revealed seven salient themes as key areas on which professionals need to provide continued focus and progress. As a result of the findings, this dissertation addresses important implications and prescribe specific recommendations.