The Transition From Secondary To Post-Secondary Education For Students With Disabilities
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentEducation and Urban Studies
ProgramDoctor of Education
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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the transition from secondary to postsecondary education for students with disabilities. A comparison was made between participants with invisible and visible disabilities. After the data were analyzed, several themes (and sub themes) and commonalities in the perceptions of the six participants of this study were discovered. Those themes were: student expectations to attend college, transition/cultural shock, perceptions of disability, support systems, high school and college accommodations, disability support services, and coping strategies. The results of this study revealed that family, friends, and the social environment played a role in the decision for the disabled participants to attend college. Another finding was that participants with invisible disabilities experienced transition/culture shock, while participants with visible disabilities did not. Some participants with invisible disabilities experienced difficulties forming relationships with peers, whereas participants with visible disabilities experienced minimal problems. Participants with invisible disabilities held negative perceptions of themselves, whereas participants with visible disabilities held minimal. Regarding external perceptions, all participants (invisible and visible) perceived that society may hold negative views about people with disabilities. Participants with visible disabilities did not rely as much on social capital for support as did the participants with invisible disabilities. Participants with invisible disability reported having similar services or accommodations in college as they did in high school. There were mixed views held by participants with invisible disabilities regarding the services they received from the retention center. Finally, participants with visible disabilities displayed all aspects of self-empowerment, while participants with invisible disabilities lacked some of the components of self-empowerment.