Lived Experiences of High School Graduates Identified with Specific Learning Disabilities, Their Families, and Their Teachers
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ABSTRACT The successful completion of high school is a goal of many Americans. Graduation rates of students identified with Specific Learning Disabilities has been steadily rising over the last decade, yet this population of students remains well below the graduation rate of students without disabilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of high school graduates identified with having specific learning disabilities, their families, and their teachers. A qualitative case-study methodology was used to investigate the perceptions of participants using an open-ended interview process. These interviews resulted in eight themes related to the participants’ perceptions about students with disabilities, attributes of the students themselves as well as their families and educators, and services provided by the school. These themes include disability awareness; active participation in IEP process by graduate, family members, and educators; goal setting and attainment; use of supports: related services; accommodations and modifications; employment; self-determination; self-advocacy; and transition planning. Further studies should be conducted in similar small, rural school districts to determine which outcomes of the study are affected by changes in participants and/or location of the schools.
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