Capturing the essence of the change process in educational policy
This research highlights the role of parent activism, as realized through the volunteer organization Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) and their subsequent contributions to shaping autism services through foundational legislation, research, communities, and school programs. During the first phase of this research, themes related to effective educational change were captured in interviews and developed into an adapted systems change model. The focus of the second phase centered on continuing with second and third waves of activist parents, who were current members of FEAT, completing quantitative surveys based on the themes found in the first phase to substantiate the themes continuing importance.
Additionally, the respondents were asked qualitative questions on aspects of the continuing change process. The results of this research provide a comparison and analysis of the themes related to past, present, and ongoing change processes. In addition, the final research recommendations provide an action plan for all groups seeking to address the growing needs of children with autism and their families. Information gathered from the research points the way for those desiring to become part of a ground swell of groups and individuals dedicated to seeing lasting change in educational policy and programs in the autism community and beyond. The Praxis Documentation & Aesthetic Interpretation (PDAI) research model used for this study emerged from fascination with societal transformation and the endless energy of change pioneers.
The PDAI research model continues to hold significance for those who seek to conduct research in new and inventive ways.
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