Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Crooks, Claire V.


The Parents in Partnership with Educators (PIPE) program was developed as a brief intervention for families who are struggling to communicate with schools around the needs of their child. It includes instruction in communication and conflict resolution strategies. Parents are also provided with support at school meetings to help them implement these strategies. The goal of this thesis was to explore why parents enrol in the PIPE program and what they gain from their involvement. In Study 1, file reviews were conducted of ten families, eight of whom also participated in an interview about their experience. Interview transcripts were analysed using content analysis and three overarching themes were identified including support, skill building, and advocacy. In Study 2, seven professionals and six parents completed an online group concept mapping activity to conceptualize the benefits of the PIPE program. A final eight cluster map was developed to illustrate the key concepts: Support received, Meeting skills, Communication skills, Confidence, Advocacy, Knowledge, Insight, and Validation and Reassurance. Taken together, the findings from these studies suggest that the PIPE program allows parents to feel heard, gain confidence, and ultimately improve their communications with the school. Parents and professionals emphasized the importance of support for parents who may be feeling overwhelmed or unheard among members of the school team. These findings have important implications for parents and educators and point to the need for programs such as PIPE.