While global, interdisciplinary debates continue regarding increased prevalence in autism spectrum disorders, there is no doubt that the visibility of individuals with autism have increased in public schools. Families of children with autism are placed in an unprecedented position as they become educational advocates by default when their children become students in public schools in an age of austerity (Caruso 2010, Itkonen and Ream 2013, Kalaei 2008, Ong-Dean 2009, Tincani 2007). Using Bourdieu’s Cultural Capital theory as a guide, the purpose of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of how parents of children with autism negotiate their child’s education within the constraints of public schools through the interpersonal interactions with IEP teams. What types of parent-professional relationships exist between parents of children with autism and IEP teams? What factors influence parents’ advocacy styles?
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