Powerpoint presentation M.A. Thesis DefencePresentation Transcript
Research Project for the degree of Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies Catie R. Chase, B.A. April 17, 2008
What we know about post-secondary education and students with LDs?
Students with LDs are the largest group of individuals with disabilities across all primary, secondary, and post-secondary education comprising 42.7% (US Department of Education, 2006b).
Approximately 4.8% of post-secondary students with disabilities report as having an LD (US Department of Education, 2006a).
LDs currently are the largest single category of disability served by disability student services in community colleges in the U.S. (e.g., Bigai, et al. 1995; Epstein, 2005 & Department of Education, 2006).
LDs do not disappear on completion of high school; they exist for life (McNamara, 2007) and students with LDs have more difficulty applying self-determining skills to their lives when compared to their peers without LDs (Hoffman, 2003).
What we know about post-secondary students who are LD identified and SD?
SD is an essential element to the life-long success of all late-adolescent and adult post-secondary students (e.g., Roessler, Brown, & Rumrill, 1998).
SD skills are essential to learn and be used in order to become autonomous and maintain autonomy as an adult, especially for individuals with disabilities (Wehmeyer, 1998).
SD can be accounted for across the life span (Sands & Wehmeyer, 1996) and SD in transition aged students with disabilities is by far the most important phase across the life span (e.g., Wehmeyer & Ward, 1995; Wehmeyer, Agran, & Huges, 1998).
What is Self-Determination?
From the special education perspective; SD has been recognized as “... a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior. An understanding if one’s strengths and limitations together with a belief in oneself as capable and effective are essential to self-determination. When acting on the basis of these skills and attitudes, individuals have greater ability to take control of their lives and assume the role of successful adults” (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998, pg. 2).
Fostering SD is vital for post-secondary success; therefore, future research should incorporate measures of SD and its relationship to academic and professional success for students with disabilities (Brinckerhoff, McGuire, & Shaw, 2002).
Adults with disabilities who have mastered and practiced self-determining skills while growing up are more likely to have increased employment opportunities, receive higher pay, maintain successful adult relationships, and report having overall satisfaction about their lives (Agran & Wehmeyer, 2000).
Self-determining skills are behaviors that can be learned and taught throughout all stages in life (Wehmeyer, 1998).
Literature Review Continued
Individuals with disabilities are reported to experience more of a challenge in learning and developing self-determining skills, making their own choices, and decisions for their lives when compared to those without disabilities (Field & Hoffman, 2002).
In the past two decades, this area of research in special education has been primarily focused on individuals with more severe disabilities (e.g., mental retardation) (Wehmeyer, 1998) rather than on those with learning disabilities (Field, 1997) or adult post-secondary students (Field, 2003).
There is limited research on SD for post-secondary students with LDs and little of it is empirically-based (Algozzine, Browder, Karvonen, Test, & Wood, 2001).
Three hypotheses were tested related to time of LD identification with self-determination operationalized by responses to the Self-Determination Scale (SDS) (Sheldon & Deci, 1996) as follows:
1. Primary/secondary identified participants with LDs score higher on the Self-Determination Scale total score (SDSTS) when compared to adult identified participants.
2. Primary/secondary identified participants with LDs score higher on the Perceived Choice (PC) subscale score when compared to adult identified participants on the SDS.
3. Primary/secondary identified participants with LDs score higher on the Awareness of Self (AS) subscale score when compared to adult identified participants on the SDS.
Forty participants, 13 men (32.5%), and 27 women (67.5%)
The qualifications for participating were:
Ages 18 years or older (mean of age= 26.8; s.d. =11.64)
Enrolled part or full time at a local community college in southern California
Registered with DSPS at a local community college
Identified as having an LD
Two LD groups; Primary/secondary identified (PSI) or adult identified (ADI)