A Post-School Outcome Study of Students with Learning Disabilities Open Access
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Abstract of the Dissertation A Post-School Outcome Study of Students with Learning DisabilitiesThe transition to adulthood for students with learning disabilities is not a single life event; rather it is a series of smaller steps that lead students to become independent adults. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 and its regulations required states to deliver transition services as well as follow-up with students who had an Individual Education Plan (IEP) within one year of graduating or exiting from high school. States are required to report on student's postsecondary outcomes to the U.S. Department of Education within one year of graduating or leaving high school. This study followed-up with former students with learning disabilities who participated in a tiered transition program that focused on career development at the Kingsbury Center in Washington, DC. The follow-up study was conducted to (a) report on former student postsecondary outcomes (e.g., education, employment, and independent living), (b) gain insight regarding levels of satisfaction, and (c) receive feedback regarding the Kingsbury Transition Program (KTP) and the Career Investigations for Transitioning Youth (C.I.T.Y.). There were 56 former students who were invited to participate in the study. A total of 16 former students was interviewed that yielded a 29% response rate. Former students were interviewed within three to five years since leaving or graduating from high school. The interview protocol consisted of questions originally developed by the National Post-School Outcomes Center. A revised interview protocol was used to interview former students after three rounds of expert review and a pilot test to achieve content validity.The data indicated that students with learning disabilities (a) are going to college and working part-time, (b) are currently or have been employed, (c) continue to live with their parents with a few students living on or off campus, (d) are satisfied with their lives, and (e) think that the KTP/C.I.T.Y. Program helped them work toward their postsecondary goals. The student interviews did highlight some areas of concern: transition program issues, overemphasis on a college pathway, length of time to obtain postsecondary degree, disclosure, adult services, and employee benefits. Recommendations and limitations of the study were addressed to help future students transition into adult life.