Abstract

This study examines collaboration between American special educators and Somali American families of boys with autism through the lens of capital theory. Subthemes are organized according to phases in the educational planning process, from ongoing and pre-meeting interactions through finalization of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Results reveal that within a homogenous group (i.e., families of Somali American boys with autism) differences in, for example, immigration history or parents' educational backgrounds can facilitate or impede access to capital (economic, social, cultural). Across the phases, families who leverage capital effectively participate more actively in educational planning. Additionally, findings suggest that children whose families have more access to social and cultural capital tend to enroll in better-resourced schools even if they themselves live in under-resourced school districts. This fact affects their educational trajectories and their families' experiences of collaboration. Implications for practice are discussed.

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