The effects and perceptions of family involvement in program decisions about family-centered practices
This article describes the perceptions and effects of parent participation in a workshop designed to help professionals working in early intervention programs for young children with disabilities become more family-focused in their work. Two decision-making workshops were held, one in which parents were invited to attend along with professionals and one attended only by professionals. Data from four sources—pre- and postworkshop ratings of current and desired practices, the verbal behavior of participants during the workshop, surveys of participants' perceptions, and an analysis of decisions made during the workshop—are used to assess the effects and perceptions of consumer involvement in program-level decisions. Results indicate that parent presence influenced the extent to which professionals perceived a need for change in program practices. Parents and professionals who experienced parent presence were positive about the experience, and professionals who attended the workshop without parents felt strongly that parents should have been there.