Marlene Wyatt is the mother of three children ages 5 and under. Her middle child, Liz, who is approaching her third birthday, has an autism spectrum disorder. There is never an unclaimed minute at home or work for Marlene. Her husband frequently works overnight and weekend shifts. Marlene works as a custodian at the local school. The family receives an early intervention home visit once every 2 weeks; the practitioner gives Marlene suggestions for following through with routine-based early intervention, especially related to communication and social skills. The family’s service coordinator, who has a caseload of 96 families, recently e-mailed Marlene regarding an upcoming transition planning conference to decide on what preschool Liz will attend once she turns 3. The service coordinator said this would require a new evaluation and that many people would be at the meeting. Marlene has no idea how to prepare for the meeting so that she can make the best decisions for Liz. This article addresses the challenges that families of children with disabilities face in having access to evidence-based knowledge in order to be an equal decision maker with educators. Knowledge-to-action (KTA) guides are one resource that provides families access to top-tier knowledge on evidence-based practice; this knowledge can help parents carry out their responsibilities to participate with educators in making decisions about their children–and in holding educators accountable for providing beneficial interventions.
Turnbull, A. P., Zuna, N., Hong, J. Y., Hu, X., Kyzar, K., Obremski, S., . . . Stowe, M. (2010). Knowledge-to-action guides: Preparing families to be partners in making educational decisions. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(3), 42–53.