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Individualized education programmes and parental behaviours for children with disabilities: Moderation effects of Head Start on children's developmental outcomes

This study examined associations among Head Start attendance, individualized education programmes (IEPs), parental behaviours and child outcomes in a sample of five-hundred and seventy 3- to 4-year-old children with disabilities. Home language, number of disabilities and Head Start enrollment were associated with having an IEP. Parents of children with IEPs and those who participated in Head Start used more social services, while social support was more prevalent for parents of non-Head Start children with IEPs. For all children, frequent parental book reading, greater number of books in the home and greater perceived social support among parents were associated with favourable cognitive and social-emotional outcomes. Greater social service use was adversely associated with reading scores only for non-Head Start children. Findings highlight the need for inclusive IEP policies and Head Start programmes for parents regarding access to special education supports for children who demonstrate developmental concerns. Participation in Head Start may buffer negative effects of social service use on children's reading skill development, although more research is needed to uncover the specific mechanisms responsible for this association. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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