Young Adult in Graduation Cap and Gown

As parents, one of the best gifts we can give our children, youth and young adults with disabilities is to set high expectations for them at home, school and in the community. Multiple studies have shown parents expectations about their youth’s skills, education and abilities, influence the types of outcomes our youth achieve and are also linked to academic achievement (Doren, Gau and Lindstorm. 2012. The Relationship Between Parent Expectations and Postschool Outcomes Of Adolescents With Disabilities. Exceptional Children. Vol 79. Pp. 7-23). It is up to us as parents to believe that our children are capable of great things and to give them opportunities to try new things in life and sometimes even to fail and learn from their mistakes.

At the Utah Parent Center, we believe that high expectations matter for kids with special needs. We hope you enjoy the resources below as you explore new ways to hold high expectations for your child, youth or young adult.

Information Sheets:


Parents with High Expectations: You and Your Elementary School Aged Child
Parents with High Expectations:  You and Your Middle-School Aged Child 

Want to Help Your Child Succeed in School?  Be Involved!

Parents with High Expectations: A Parent’s Vision and High Expectations are Powerful


Links to more information:

Buzz from the Hub | The Impact and Value of High Expectations

The theme of this Buzz is the enormous impact that our expectations have on the outcomes we achieve. Research has more than adequately shown that high parental

and teacher expectations can result in higher student achievement. Low expectations or lack of expectations tend to produce the opposite result.

Stakeholder Guide to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

From the Center for Parent Information & Resources, this guide discusses the expectations for children with disabilities under the ESSA.  

High Expectations for All discusses the necessity of having high expectations for students with learning disabilities and ADHD.

Resolution on High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

The National PTA has passed a resolution regarding the importance of setting high expctations for students with disabilities.  

A Promising Academic Model for Students With Disabilities

This commentary in Education Week discusses the premise that “contrary to conventional perceptions, most students with disabilities have the cognitive ability to achieve the same academic standards as their nondisabled peers.”

Utah’s Multi-tiered System Of Supports For Mathematics UMTSS

This paper from the Utah State Board of Education’s Special Ed. discusses the state’s plan for improving math skills for all students.   

Resolution on High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

Setting High Expectations for Transition 

This presentation explains the benefits of high expectation during IEP team transition planning. It discusses the obstacles that families face in trying to help their youth achieve in postsecondary life.

Expectations of Families with Young Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities for Postsecondary Education

This brief from the Center on Transition discusses the link between high expectations and high academic achievement for youth. It focuses on the topic of planning for postsecondary education programs for youth with Individuals with both intellectual and development disabilities.