Date of Submission



Many parents of children with Down syndrome are working with their child to help them learn. Little is known of the roles they play, however, in the development of mathematics concepts. This thesis reports on an investigation of the self-reported perceived roles of these parents and the way in which the perceptions of their roles changed during this study. The study is situated within the Parent Involvement Process theoretical model first developed by Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1997) and revised by Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler and Hoover-Dempsey (2005). All data were analysed according to the five parental roles as defined by Cai, Moyer, and Wang (1997). This research adopts a mixed methods methodology. Quantitative data were sourced from existing survey instruments. Twenty-four parents, comprising fifteen mothers and nine fathers, completed surveys before and after an intervention workshop. Rich qualitative data were also collected from the parents’ Reflective Diaries, providing the opportunity to explore the parents’ roles more deeply and to allow the Parent Voice to emerge and embellish the quantitative data. Of importance in this process was the emergence of the father’s voice, often silent in research of this kind. The findings from this research confirm the effectiveness of an intervention (a “Make and Take” workshop) to support parents in their roles by building new knowledge and strategies that increase their level of participation in their children’s development of early mathematical concepts, while also strengthening their level of sense of achievement, confidence and self-efficacy. The outcomes of this research clearly indicate that providing support to parents in their roles can effectively enhance the opportunities for them to make a significant contribution to the learning of mathematical concepts for their child with Down syndrome. The researcher presents the Interconnected Model for data analysis and the Revised Parental Involvement Questionnaire for data collection.


School of Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


226 pages

Degree Name

Master of Education (Research) (MEd(Res))


Faculty of Education and Arts

Included in

Education Commons