PROVIDING OUTREACH TO FAMILIES OF YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES FROM CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS BY WORKING WITH CULTURAL GROUPS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Williams, Tracey Rachelle
University of Kansas
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This qualitative study explored how informal community networks (i.e., faith based organizations, community cultural centers and service agencies) provided information to culturally and linguistically diverse families. The goals of this study were, first, to gain a better understanding of the methods the informal community networks used to communicate with CLD families. Second, the participants' perceptions about what their CLD families believed about transition planning and services (i.e., disability, employment, adulthood, school involvement, and authority figures in the school) were explored. The final goals were to determine strategies for collaborating with informal community networks and discover how the participants used information given to them. The informal community network represented African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Multicultural families. The data for this study was gathered primarily through focus groups with informal community network providers. Interviews and documents were also used. All focus groups were video and audio taped and transcribed. An audit trail and member checks were conducted to ensure trustworthiness of data. The data was analyzed using a three phase process (Morningstar, 1995) that organized and reduced raw data, generated categories and codes, and interpreted patterns and themes. Results of this study showed that while there were three methods by which informal community networks distributed information, certain methods were more effective. In addition, the roles of individuals within organizations as well as within the family structure should be considered when disseminating information. The participants shared their perceptions about CLD families' beliefs about transition planning and services such as disability, employment, adulthood, school involvement, and authority figures. The informal community networks responses revealed commonalities and difference within each cultural group as well as across groups. Several recommendations were given to support transition professionals in developing relationships with community cultural networks who work with CLD families. Finally, results indicated how the participants used the information from the focus group or interview.
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