Title

Perceptions of Students with Disabilities of Supports and Barriers to Successful Transitions from High School to College

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

Over the past several years, colleges have seen an increase in applications from students with disabilities. This increase has sparked interest among professionals at several levels including sociologists, psychologists, and occupational scientists. Theoretical and empirical literature in this area demonstrates particular needs in selfdetermination, social skills, academic preparation, accommodations, and assistive technology for this population of students. The purpose of this research was to describe the perceptions of students with disabilities in regard to supports, barriers, and changes in daily occupations that they have experienced during their transition into college. The findings are presented in a poster format. Using a grounded theory approach, semistructured interviews were conducted with students between 18 and 30 years of age who were enrolled full-time at Eastern Kentucky University. Interviews were recorded for seven students registered with disabilities. Two students without known disabilities were also interviewed, for comparative purposes. Interviews were fully transcribed and coded using Hyper Research. The study revealed seven themes. Successes and supports included the students’ hopes, plans, attitudes, and resolution of difficulties. Challenges included fears, negative attitudes, access, and other difficulties of joining the occupational patterns of other college students. The theme academics, incorporated high school performance, the decision to attend college, preparation for the transition, impacts of disability on learning, and overall academic performance. A social theme describes impacts of friends, family, extracurricular activities, and living situations in the transition process. The theme of disability addresses aspects of having a disability in high school and college, the effects of that disability, the choice whether or not to reveal one’s disability, and self advocacy. Lastly, the theme of personal change includes the lessons learned from the transition process such as newly assumed responsibilities, personal insights, changes in attitudes and behaviors, and the ability to give advice to others regarding the transition process. Transition into college by students with disabilities has not been researched within occupational science. Understanding how occupations are reconfigured and reconsidered by students with disabilities as they transition to college also contributes to the building of the concentrated interests of occupational science in occupations of persons with disabilities as well as occupations during life changes.

References

Charmaz, K. (2005). Grounded theory in the 21st century. In N.K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 507- 535). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Taylor, L. (2008). Access: To postsecondary education. Frankfort, KY: Kentucky Department of Education.

Webb, K. (2008). Evidence based practices that promote transition to postsecondary education: Listening to a decade of expert voices. Exceptionality, 16(4), p. 192- 206. DOI: 10.1080/09362830802412182

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Oct 14th, 7:00 PM Oct 14th, 9:00 PM

Perceptions of Students with Disabilities of Supports and Barriers to Successful Transitions from High School to College

Over the past several years, colleges have seen an increase in applications from students with disabilities. This increase has sparked interest among professionals at several levels including sociologists, psychologists, and occupational scientists. Theoretical and empirical literature in this area demonstrates particular needs in selfdetermination, social skills, academic preparation, accommodations, and assistive technology for this population of students. The purpose of this research was to describe the perceptions of students with disabilities in regard to supports, barriers, and changes in daily occupations that they have experienced during their transition into college. The findings are presented in a poster format. Using a grounded theory approach, semistructured interviews were conducted with students between 18 and 30 years of age who were enrolled full-time at Eastern Kentucky University. Interviews were recorded for seven students registered with disabilities. Two students without known disabilities were also interviewed, for comparative purposes. Interviews were fully transcribed and coded using Hyper Research. The study revealed seven themes. Successes and supports included the students’ hopes, plans, attitudes, and resolution of difficulties. Challenges included fears, negative attitudes, access, and other difficulties of joining the occupational patterns of other college students. The theme academics, incorporated high school performance, the decision to attend college, preparation for the transition, impacts of disability on learning, and overall academic performance. A social theme describes impacts of friends, family, extracurricular activities, and living situations in the transition process. The theme of disability addresses aspects of having a disability in high school and college, the effects of that disability, the choice whether or not to reveal one’s disability, and self advocacy. Lastly, the theme of personal change includes the lessons learned from the transition process such as newly assumed responsibilities, personal insights, changes in attitudes and behaviors, and the ability to give advice to others regarding the transition process. Transition into college by students with disabilities has not been researched within occupational science. Understanding how occupations are reconfigured and reconsidered by students with disabilities as they transition to college also contributes to the building of the concentrated interests of occupational science in occupations of persons with disabilities as well as occupations during life changes.