Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Julie Lane

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Mark Weatherly

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Deardra Hayes-Whigham


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to document and analyze the experiences of Texas parents as their children transition from an early childhood intervention (ECI) program to an early childhood special education (ECSE) setting from parents’ perspectives in hopes of learning what practices made the transition process more meaningful. The specific problem addressed in this study was that parents do not always have insights into the process that their children undergo during the transition from ECI to ECSE. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Schlossberg’s transition theory, which incorporates applications to guide adults with life changes or transitions that can cause shifts for themselves and their families, discontinuing what was once familiar and learning to adapt to a new norm. Data collection materials and instruments consisted of information obtained from participants responding to one-on-one interviews using an interview guide. Participants were solicited via an email to Texas support groups that provide services to parents of children with special needs. The population consisted of Texas parents of children who have transitioned from ECI to ECSE within the last five years. The semi-structured interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The recurring themes that emerged from the participants’ interview responses were preparedness, challenges, conqueror, and dignity. Conclusions from this study were that participants experienced feeling like a valued member of their child’s educational journey; participants experienced dignity while leaving ECI and entering ECSE, arming them with the confidence needed to participate in future meetings. The connection to positive interactions between ECI and ECSE was influential in exhibiting dignity, building trust, and gaining confidence.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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