Rochelle Standing 1081780
For many years researchers have studied families of children with disabilities attempting to cast light on the important aspects and the complexities of providing equitable learning opportunities in education including the benefits and characteristics of working together in partnerships with parents and whÃÂnau in terms their child's care and education. Collaborative parental partnerships are certainly not a new concept by any means however for parents of children with special needs it has presented a different set of challenges and perspectives which have many implications for educators. For the purpose of this paper I will explore what some of these are and discuss how they link with the role of the educator.
Historically, Aotearoa/New Zealand has had a long history of acknowledging the involvement of families, particularly at the early childhood and elementary level, however it was not until the introduction of Tomorrow Schools (1989) and the Education Act (1989), that the emphasis of parental involvement in schools changed from a largely supportive role to one that was intended as a partnership (T.
Caulcutt; personal communication; 15 July 2010; Harvard Family Research Project, 2006; Rodd, 2006; Wylie, 1999). According to O'Brien & Ryba (2000) this was further exemplified with the introduction 'Special Education' policy in 1996. With an overall aim of providing learning opportunities of equal quality for all children the special education policy promotes the partnership between families, whÃÂnau and education providers as being essential to the educational success of children with special needs (Wylie, 1999).
The concept of parental partnership is something that has being discussed by researchers for some time however the common key elements that are suggested to reflect authentic partnerships are genuine power sharing, involvement and inclusion in all areas of the decision making process, and responsive, reciprocal and respectful relationships...