Sydni Raymond
May 17, 2024

Building Bridges: Why is Family Engagement Important in Special Education?

Learn why family engagement is important in special education and how recent Overdeck Foundation research supports our work with schools.

In a world where connecting educators with special education families can be challenging, building meaningful relationships with parents and caregivers is more important than ever. At Exceptional Lives, we envision a world where families and educators of children with disabilities work in true partnership, supported by systems that create pathways for all children to reach their full potential. 

A recent study by the Overdeck Family Foundation shows that when families and schools work together and have great communication, it improves children’s social skills, attendance, and academic performance.

Our work aligns with the Overdeck Family Foundation’s findings and we are excited to help schools nationwide with their family engagement efforts. We know that when families and schools work together, special education students have better outcomes.

We believe that working with caregivers and educators is the key to success. Our work is grounded in Dr. Karen Mapp’s family engagement research and her dual capacity-building framework

The idea is simple:

We address the same topics with both groups but we tailor our work to their distinct perspectives and needs. This fosters mutual understanding and shared goals.

When everyone is moving in the same direction, everyone wins – especially our children.

You may be asking, “Why is family engagement important in special education?” 

The simple answer is that family engagement improves some of the most difficult challenges in education:

  1. Students with disabilities have better outcomes and higher graduation rates.
  2. Families are more confident in their ability to support their child’s learning.
  3. Teachers are better able to meet their students’ needs and feel more supported and satisfied with their jobs.

The goal is for schools to create a culture where families can communicate their goals for their child’s education, and educators are better able to help them support their child’s learning journey.

Our mission hasn’t changed: we want to help families of students with disabilities succeed. 

Every child’s journey is different, especially in special education, so we offer different kinds of support to meet your needs – everything from Professional Development training to skills-building sessions for families, a customizable IEP welcome kit, a tailored landing page and communication plan, and more. 

Our goal is to help schools form real connections with families so students with disabilities succeed.

Together, we can make a positive impact on the relationships between families and schools for children who need it most. Every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Contact us to learn more about our family engagement services and discover how your school district can contribute to this effort.

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