Benefits of Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
More research on postsecondary education programs for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) is needed. Current research has shown that students with developmental disabilities need access to community living, transportation, socialization, and employment; research in these areas provided the conceptual framework of the study. Currently there are less than 200 postsecondary education programs that accept and provide supports to students with DD. This qualitative case study investigated the levels of independence gained by graduates with DD from four postsecondary education programs. A case study design was selected to explore the graduates’ perceptions of their achievements in college. The tool utilized for this study was semi-structured interviews. A purposeful, homogeneous sample of nine 2008 graduates was selected. Analytical and open coding was used to create aggregated themes. 4 themes emerged from the data in the areas of community living, transportation, socialization and employment. These findings are congruent with the needs identified in the amendments to the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act that required access to higher education and federal financial aid for students with DD. The data show the benefits gained not only in classrooms, but also in employment and community life after they have left school. Implications for positive social change include providing support for enhancing existing postsecondary education programs for individuals with DD which can result in increased employment opportunities.
Van Haneghan, M. (2012) Benefits of Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. (Doctoral dissertation).