Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daphne Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Allsopp, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert F. Dedrick, Ph.D.


Motivation, Challenge, Early intervention, Meaning


Although special education advocates have played an essential role in obtaining rights for individuals with disabilities, there is still much unknown about their motivations, challenges, roles, and the meaning they made from their experiences. Research into Saudi parent advocates of children with disabilities and their complex daily life issues have seldom been investigated, with rare studies that focus solely on Saudi early intervention services needs and supports. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of Saudi parents of children with developmental disabilities who are special education advocates in their communities. One of the goals of this study was to obtain a better understanding of how these parents view their roles in providing support to other parents and the meaning they made from their experiences. A qualitative interview approach design was adopted for data collection. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five Saudi participants who had been in the advocacy world. Participants were interviewed about becoming advocates in the first interview, details and challenges about early intervention services in the second interview, and what advocacy means to the parents in the third interview. Findings included a nuanced understanding of advocacy in terms of motivations, obstacles to taking steps to influence others, policies, and practices. Additionally, results highlighted barriers to Saudi parent engagement in early intervention services, defining parents' role as advocates and the meanings they made through their journeys. Finally, based on the results of this study, three levels of practical implications for policy and practice were suggested. Recommendations supported by "Saudi Vision 2030" were provided first for Saudi policymakers, second for service providers, and third for parents. The study concludes with an overview of limitations and recommendations for future research.