Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Janet M. Kulberg

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship that variability in early intervention service coordinate model has with the quality of transition fro early intervention to preschool special education services and with the degree to which families feel empowered to advocate for their child and families' needs. Eighty-five service coordinator and family pairs in the state of New York were recruited for the study based on their adherence to one of two service coordination models: 1) dedication service coordination or 2) service coordination plus provision of other developmental services (dual role model). Both service coordinators and families rated the quality of the families' transition from early intervention to preschool special education and families rated their sense of empowerment measured in attitudes, knowledge and behaviors across three dimensions (family system, service system and community/political system).

Results suggested that both service coordinators and families associated higher quality transitions and a higher sense of empowerment across dimensions when the service coordinator adhered to a dual model. Significantly higher quality transitions were reported by families with a dual model, even after influences of family sense of empowerment were removed. Implications of the study finding for education and system development as well as recommendations for future research are discussed.

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