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Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan



Ayed H. Ziadat
 
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ABSTRACT

This study is aimed to identify the obstacles facing the resource rooms at Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education in Jordan. A questionnaire was developed and distributed among teachers and parents in order to evaluate the effectiveness and the satisfaction of the resource rooms from the prospective of the special education teachers and parents of students with learning difficulties. Forty two special education teachers and one hundred parents participated in the survey. Different variables such as; age, gender, years of experience, income and education levels were identified. Questions regarding the level of acceptance, services provided, involvement in decision making, satisfaction of existing facilities, programs and tools in the resource rooms were presented in the questionnaire. Analyses of variance on the mean of the sample population among other statistical methods were applied to the responses obtained from parents and teachers who participated in survey. The results of this study revealed a moderate level of satisfaction and indicated the presence of financial and administrative difficulties in the resource rooms at Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education in Jordan. The statistical analysis showed no significant difference in responses of the special education teachers with respect to gender and years of experiences. The difference in responses became more evident with respect to the tools and methods of teaching in the resource rooms among the same group of participants. Moderate level of satisfaction regarding different elements in the resource rooms including: Tools, programs, teaching strategies and parents participation regarding decisions in the resource rooms became evident among all groups of parents who participated in the survey. Significant differences in parent=s responses were observed with respect to their age, education and income level. The statistical analysis showed that parents with higher education levels and higher income were keen to be more involved in the resource room activities, with more enthusiasm regarding the long term benefits of the resource rooms in improving the skills of students with learning difficulties.

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  How to cite this article:

Ayed H. Ziadat , 2014. Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan. Journal of Applied Sciences, 14: 2552-2560.

DOI: 10.3923/jas.2014.2552.2560

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jas.2014.2552.2560
 
Received: April 24, 2014; Accepted: June 23, 2014; Published: July 11, 2014



INTRODUCTION

The relation between teaching quality, curriculum developments, education technology, programs and achievements of students with learning difficulties captured the attention of many researchers worldwide (Lerner, 2003; Bataineh and Al-Shehry, 2010; Al-Natour et al., 2010; Al-Zoubi et al., 2010; Al-Zoubi and Rahman, 2012).

The quality of teaching and methods of delivery directly influence the students learning and performance capabilities. Researchers continue with endless efforts to unravel the important aspects of these relationships, including the specific techniques applied in which the quality of teaching becomes effective and fruitful to motivate learners and becomes evidence of successful outcomes to advance teacher’s progress through their career (Alkhasrami, 2001; Sabbah and Shanaah, 2010; Trainor, 2010; Morris and Al-Aloul, 2010). The most successful intrusions for students with disabilities, whether in special education or general education settings have utilized intensive and individualized instruction combined with careful and frequent monitoring of students’ progress and improvements.

Special education is essential and important for students with learning disabilities to become successful. Schools and educational institutions should be able to assist students with learning disabilities as they face many transitions throughout the course of their schooling and learning process. Each transition requires further discussions to take place in an honest and transparent manner that ensures confidentiality and ultimately generates the best possible learning journey embraced by all for better education and improvements.

As the saying goes; “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, families and schools are the most effective and influential in education as their efforts on behalf of the child are comprehensive, focused and coherent. This is considered as the best possible teamwork for the success of a child in learning abilities and the education progress. The fulfillment of the education process relies significantly on four major elements; the teacher, the student, the parents and teaching strategies. One of the modern concepts in teaching the students with special needs is the full inclusion. This means placing all students with special needs or learning difficulties near to their residency from the public schools, while the public education teacher bears the basic responsibility for teaching this segment of students (Hallahan and Kauffman, 2006; Kalyanpur and Harry, 2012). Direct interaction and collaboration of parents with teachers are one of the essential steps for the success of the student’s performance in school (Taliaferro et al., 2009; Pomerantz et al., 2007).

Inclusion is one of the educational alternatives that have been applied for the last few decades. The concept of inclusion in different schools usually is merged with special curriculum and other teaching strategies to help students with learning disabilities. The usage of the resource rooms and available tools which requires pre-planning and preparation is a very important stage in the learning process of students with learning difficulties (Lerner, 2003; Batayneh and Shammari, 2010; Ismail et al., 2009; Hallahan et al., 2005).

A study by Johnson (2002) indicated that the parents of students with special disabilities are one of the most important elements in evaluating programs and services provided in the resource rooms and other facilities in schools. This importance symbolizes the following considerations:

Individuals Disabilities Education Act affirms the importance of parent’s presence as decision makers and an essential part of the working team assigned to improve their children’s progress and developments. The parents presence helps to reduce the feeling of dissatisfaction regarding the services provided to the children with learning difficulties and gives them the opportunity to express different viewpoints regarding their confidence in the introduced programs (Al Khateeb and Hadidi, 2009; Esquivel et al., 2008; Fish, 2008)
Parent’s satisfaction has been connected to the family characteristics, such as daily life impact, frustration, self-confidence and the relation with the school of their children (Al-Natour et al., 2010; Al-Otaibi et al., 2007)

On the other hand, special education teachers encounter a diversity of obstacles that limits the level of services they provide to students with special needs. Such obstacles are directly and indirectly related to many different factors such as: social, economical, limited resources, psychological, administrative and job dissatisfaction (Al-Zoubi et al., 2010; Sabbah and Shanaah, 2010).

The main objective of this study is to identify the obstacles encountered by the special education resource room teachers at Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education in the country of Jordan.

The attempt of the study is to answer the following questions:

Identify the obstacles facing the special education teachers in the learning resource rooms in Qasabat Al- Salt Directorate of Education with respect to the variables of gender and years of experience in teaching students with learning difficulties
Categorize the level of satisfaction from the parent’s point of view with respect to the service provided at the resources rooms
Evaluate the levels of parent’s satisfaction of services provided in the resource rooms with respect to the parent’s gender, educational level, age and income level. Such variables are important in the teachers’ role and success of the educational process and development

The interrelated roles of teachers and parents in the resource rooms would clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of developed programs, diagnoses of obstacles in teaching strategies, implementation of curriculum as the core elements for the success of the educational process and also to enhance the role of the resource rooms in order to improve the performance of students with learning difficulties.

METHODOLOGY

Information and records of students with learning difficulties, number of teachers, education level, number of the resource rooms, tools, developed programs, teaching strategies and applications of educational technology in the resource rooms pertaining to Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate of Education schools were reviewed in order to establish a base line foundation for this study.

Academic and administrative files of all students (25 males and 25 females) with learning difficulties attending the resource rooms were reviewed. A total of forty two teachers; twenty-five males and seventeen females in forty resource rooms from Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate of Education Schools participated in this study.

Two questionnaires were developed and distributed among teachers and parents in order to evaluate the effectiveness and the satisfaction of the resource rooms from the prospective of the special education teachers and parents of students with learning difficulties. Forty two special education teachers and one hundred parents participated in the survey.

Different variables such as; age, gender, years of experience, income and educational levels were identified. Questions regarding the level of acceptance, services provided, involvement in decision making, satisfaction of existing facilities, programs and tools in the resource rooms were presented in the questionnaires. Analyses of Variance on the mean of the sample population among other statistical methods were applied to the responses obtained from parents and teachers who participated in survey. The results of this study revealed a moderate level of satisfaction and indicated the presence of financial and administrative difficulties in the resource rooms at Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education in Jordan.

In order to build sufficient measurement tools, the two questionnaires were prepared and presented to a set of arbitrators from the teaching staff and ten experts in the field for suggestions and relevant modification regarding the questionnaire’s content, clarity of language and the extent of measuring dimensions of variables for both teachers and parents of students with learning difficulties. All suggested modifications were implemented prior the distribution of the final forms of the questionnaires.

Arbitration members were in agreement on items presented in the questionnaires exceeding 90% which indicates the validity of the items, content and affirming the stability of the study tools. Individuals of parents and teachers with different education levels, age and gender from the same regional area were chosen for the draft evaluation. The pre-tested sample was excluded from the actual survey and the stability value reached 86%. The internal consistency coefficient was calculated according to Cronpach’s alpha equation for the two tools dimension and the values were considered relevant and acceptable.

The study population consisted of all teachers and families of all enrolled students in the resource rooms in the second grade to the sixth basic grade at Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education/Jordan for the scholastic year 2013-2014. One hundred parents and forty two teachers participated in the survey.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STUDY SAMPLES

A total of 42 teachers participated in the questionnaire, 59.5% of the total sample were males and 40.5% females. Meanwhile one hundred parents of students with learning difficulties (55 males and 45 females) participate in the other questionnaire. The number of the participants, age and gender of teachers and parents who participated in the questionnaire are shown in Table 1.

The education level of teachers who participated in the study varied significantly as shown in Table 2. Teachers with the highest years of experience (more than 16 years) reached 16.70% of the total sample. The number of teachers with the lowest years of experience (1-5 years) was 33.30% of the total participants. Meanwhile the percentage of teachers who participated in the survey with years of experience in the range of (6-10) years was 31.0% of the total sample. Eight teachers representing 19.0% of the total samples were teachers with experience in the rage of (11-15 years).

The diversity of parent’s education level, income and age played a significant role in the study, where 41 participants held a university degree, 27 participants with higher degrees and a total of 32 with high school and higher diploma.

The income level usually influences the standard of living of families and is an important factor in the responses of parents who participated in the study. Table 3 shows that thirty-nine families of students with learning difficulties monthly income raged from (501-750) JD’s, as one Jordanian Dinar (JD’s) is equivalent to 1.40 American Dollars. Thirty seven families with a monthly income above (751) JD’s and twelve families with monthly income less than (500) JD’s, participated in the study.

Table 1:Distribution according to gender of teachers and parents
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 2:Distribution according to teachers years of experience
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 3:Distribution according to parent’s age, education level and income
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Regarding the parent’s age category, the majority of participants were middle aged; 36 participants ages ranged from (26-30) years, 27 participants were in the range of (31-35) years old , 25 participants were above 41 years of age and 12 participants were 25 years of age or less forming 12% of the total sample.

Fourteen questions were presented in the teacher’s questionnaire and divided into two major domains:

Resource rooms domain
Financial and administrative domain

On the other hand, the parent’s questionnaire consisted of a diversity of questions regarding the resource room’s environment, satisfaction of performance, capability of teachers, school administrative performance and communications with parents of students with learning difficulties.

A complete statistical analysis to the responses of teachers and parents of students with learning difficulties are presented as.

Table 4 illustrates the obstacles encountered the special education teachers in the resource rooms of Qasabat-Al-Salt Directorate. This domain ranked into three levels of satisfaction; high, medium and low. Medium to low degree of satisfaction dominated the results of the statistical analysis of responses. The mean of the questions presented in this domain ranged from (1.36 - 2.55) and the total rank of the mean reached (1.95) with an overall standard deviation of (0.34).

Question No. 3 discussed visits made by the educational supervisors to the resource rooms and the evaluation of performance of teachers and students. The results indicated a low level of interaction with the mean at (2.55) and standard deviation of (0.55). According to the mean obtained in response to the number of students in the resource rooms exceeded the room capacity which reached (1.36) with standard deviation of (0.57) and low level of satisfaction leading to the fact of more emphases and development in the resource rooms are needed.

The statistical results to the questions presented indicated clearly that the necessary requirements were not available for the learning resources rooms, in addition to the presence of obstacles that prevent the use of the modern techniques to improve the students’ performance.

The teachers’ responses to the administrative and financial survey questions shown in Table 5, provided significant evidence to the lack of communication among regular teachers and the resource room teachers with respect to students with learning difficulties with low level of satisfaction and mean value of (1.69).

Table 4:Statistical analysis of teachers responses to the resource rooms survey
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 5:Statistical analysis of teachers responses to the administrative and financial survey questions
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Shortages of special tools and equipment for the resource rooms obtained the highest level among participants. The inadequate training of special education teacher for the resource rooms indicated the need for future improvement and better facilities.

The parent’s participation in the decision and the educational environment came at a medium degree of satisfaction. The mean of the questions presented in this domain ranged from (1.40 - 2.41) and the total rank of the mean reached (2.03) with an overall standard deviation of (0.40) as shown in Table 6.

The lack of communication and cooperation between education counselors and parents with respect to student’s diagnosis and performance in the resource rooms is one of the major concerns from the parent’s prospective. Also the lack of parent’s participation and communication with the resource room teachers regarding the child’s level of deficiency gained a medium level of parents’ satisfaction. Such responses indicate the parents’ dissatisfaction with the services in the resource rooms.

The parent’s overall responses on the teacher’s performance and proposed program’s efficiency came at medium degree of satisfaction as shown in Table 7. The mean of the questions presented in this domain ranged from (1.40 - 2.41) and the total rank of the mean reached (2.30) with an overall standard deviation of (0.32). Lack of skilled teachers in the resource rooms became evident in the majority of the responses of parents who participated in the questionnaire.

To evaluate the degree of variance in response to the questionnaire and the extent of differences in answers regarding the obstacles encountering the special education teachers in the resource rooms with respect to the teacher’s gender and years of experience, one way Analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was conducted as shown in Table 8 and 9.

Table 8 shows that the calculated (F) value was obtained as (1.23), meanwhile the (F) tabulated value reached (4.08). Since the (F) calculated is less than the (F) tabulated value, it can be concluded that there are no differences in the response of participants with respect to their gender regarding the obstacles encountering the special education teachers in the resource rooms of Qasabat Al-salt Directorate in the study sample.

Table 6:Statistical analysis of parent’s responses to the educational environment questions of the survey
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 7:Statistical analysis of parent’s responses to the teacher’s and the proposed program’s efficiency questions in the survey
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 8:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the gender of teachers
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 9:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the variable of teachers’ years of experience
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 10:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the parent’s gender
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 11:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the parents’ educational level
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

Table 12:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the level of income of parents
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

This is affirmed by level significance of (0.27) which is greater than 5.0%.

According to the ANOVA regression analysis concerning the teachers experience variable, the (F) calculated values was (1.57), meanwhile the tabulated value reached (4.08) as shown in Table 9. It can be concluded that there are no differences in the response of participants with respect to their years of experience regarding the obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms. This is affirmed by significance level of (0.21) which is greater than 5.0%.

To evaluate the magnitude of the presence of differences of the parent’s satisfaction regarding the services provided in the resource rooms, the hypothesis was tested using one way ANOVA regression analysis as shown in Table 10.

As a result, the (F) calculated value was obtained to be (0.25), meanwhile the tabulated value reached (4.0). It can be concluded that there are no differences in the response of participants with respect to their gender regarding the obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms. This is affirmed by significance level of (0.61) which is greater than 5.0%.

To evaluate the magnitude of the presence of differences of the parent’s education level and the degree of satisfaction of services and obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms of Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate, the hypothesis was tested using one way ANOVA regression analysis as shown in Table 11.

According to the ANOVA regression analysis concerning the parents educational level variable, the (F) calculated values was (21.33), meanwhile the tabulated value reached (4.08). It can be concluded that there are strong differences in the response of participants with respect to their education level regarding the satisfaction of services and obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms. This is affirmed by significance level of (0.0) which is less than 5.0%.

To evaluate the magnitude of the presence of differences of the parent’s satisfaction of provided services in the resource rooms with respect to their income level. The hypothesis was tested using one way ANOVA regression analysis and the results are shown in Table 12.

According to the regression analysis concerning the parent’s education level, the (F) calculated value was obtained to be (38.88), meanwhile the tabulated value reached (4.08). It can be concluded that there are strong differences in the response and opinions of participants with respect to their level of income regarding the obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms. This is affirmed by significance level of (0.0) which is less than 5.0%.

To evaluate the magnitude of the presence of differences of the parent’s satisfaction regarding provided services in the resource rooms, with respect to their age category.

Table 13:One way analyses of variance (ANOVA) according to the prent’s age category
Image for - Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Special Education Resource Rooms in Qasabat Al Salt Directorate of Education-Al Salt/Jordan

The hypothesis was tested using one way ANOVA regression analysis and the results are shown in Table 13.

The (F) calculated value of the regression analysis concerning the parent’s age category reached (10.51), meanwhile the tabulated value obtained was (4.08). It can be concluded that there are strong differences in the response and opinions of participants with respect to their age category regarding the obstacles facing the special education teachers in the resource rooms. This is affirmed by significance level of (0.0) which is less than 5.0%.

DISCUSSION

The results of this research presented that the special education teachers in the resource rooms of Qasabat Al-Salt directorate encounter obstacles with respect to equipment and tools in the resource rooms at a medium degree, in addition to the lack of external cooperation and assistants. This is in strong agreement with Al-Ayed (2003) and Batayneh and Shammari (2010). The above mentioned studies indicated the existence of difficulties related to students, parents and the external society, in addition to the parent’s lack of cooperation with the school and parent’s continuous denial of their children’s problems. One of the major concerns was the obstacles in understanding the philosophy of education and the absence of relevant curriculum for the students with special needs.

Obstacles in the administrative and the financial domain became evident in the results of this study and were classified at the medium degree with respect to the special education teachers in the learning resource rooms in Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate. This is in agreement with a study which was designed to evaluate the customized educational program for the special education schools and centers. The results revealed a set of problems related to the shortages in preparation of customized educational programs and the lack of implementing the diagnostic results in preparing the individualized programs, with no participation of families in the their children’s school activities or programs.

The results of this study showed no differences in responses to questions regarding the obstacles facing the resource rooms in Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate that is with respect to gender and years of experience of the special education teachers. This became in full agreement with Batayneh and Shammari (2010), study in Al Medina Al-Monawara, Saudi Arabia which was aimed to examine the resource room’s facilities, programs and students interactions.

The responses of parents’ with respect to the educational environment and the involvement of the parents in the decisions in the resource rooms came at a medium degree of satisfaction. The survey results revealed that the parents’ were unhappy and mostly dissatisfied with the introduced services, teachers’ capabilities and the introduced programs in the resource rooms. The results is in agreement with the study of Alkhasrami (2001) which highlighted the shortages in preparing individualized educational program, the absence of the diversity of disciplines among the teacher’s team and the lack of implementing the diagnosed results in the preparation of individualiesed programs. The results also indicated that families were not engaged in the child’s individual program.

The results of this study showed no differences in responses to questions regarding the obstacles facing the resource rooms in Qasabat Al-Salt Directorate that is with respect to gender of parents but differences in responses were evident with respect to the education level of the parents. This is due to the fact that parents with higher education levels are more aware of the importance of the resource rooms to benefit students in developing new skills. This is in agreement with Al-Otaibi et al. (2007), study which was aimed to identify the extent of the parent’s satisfaction regarding children with special educational needs and the services provided in the special education programs and institutions. The results indicated that the families with special needs children of low education levels and low income level affect the perceptions of the parents about their children’s problems.

The age difference among the parents who participated in the survey played an important role in the level of responses to the questioners regarding the importance of the resource rooms. The statistical analysis indicated a significant difference with respect to the age category. The older the parents the more experience they have and more awareness and perception about the role of the resource room and what it should provide to enhance their children’s skills and capabilities. Parents within the older age categories showed awareness and full knowledge of their children’s’ learning disabilities and the importance of the resource rooms for long term improvements. The results came in agreement of Al-Ayed (2003) and Al-Otaibi et al. (2007) which showed the variance of the parents’ satisfaction and opinion differences regarding resource rooms with respect to the age of parents.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Emphasis on the frequent visits of the educational counselor from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to the resource rooms with documented evaluation of progress during different visits to students and teachers
Provide the resource rooms with up to date new technology of tools and equipment to build the skills and the level of improvements of students with special needs
The emphasis on the importance of continuous cooperation and coordination between the educational counselor of the school and the parents of the special needs students. Direct communication among teachers and parents is one of the most important key elements in developing skills of students with special needs
The importance of conducting specialized courses and training programs on regular bases for special education teachers by the Ministry of Education (MOE)
The necessity of participation of teachers and parents in setting individualized educational plan and the whole educational program in the resource rooms

It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to continuously support the special education teachers with incentives and specialized training courses that will keep teachers up to date with the knowledge and the skills needed for the resource rooms and the students.

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