Experiences and Expectations of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and their Families as they Transition from Secondary School to Post-Secondary Education or Employment

dc.contributor.authorFullarton, Stephanie
dc.description.abstractThis qualitative study was designed to explore the transition experiences of youth with learning disabilities (LD) educated in the province of Ontario and their families. The primary purpose of this research was to understand what influences the decisions adolescents who have LD make about post-secondary education and employment goals and paths. The expectations and experiences of youth with LD and their families during the transition process were investigated. Adolescents and their parents were the main informants. Facilitators and barriers to the process in terms of each of the systems described in Bronfenbrenner ecological theory and Turnbull and Turnbull’s family systems theory were also examined. A case study method was used in the design of this research and data were collected following Seidman’s three-interview process. Five families consisting of the youth with LD, at least one parent, and in four cases, a sibling participated in this study. The questions focused on family interactions, roles, and the decision-making process. Data from the 18 participants were coded and arranged according to the research questions which were linked to the central ideas in the theoretical framework. The findings revealed that parents’ expectations influenced the decision-making about post high school goals and paths by the youth and their families. In contrast to previous research, it was found that parents’ expectations were generally high for their children with LD and were shaped by their own post high school experiences. The dynamics of family relationships and roles during transition planning depended on the time of diagnosis of LD (primary grades vs. senior high school), attitudes towards LD by the parents, advocacy by parents, self-advocacy abilities of the youth with LD, and the nature of relations among siblings. Additionally, none of the youth with LD had a formal transition plan and the data showed that teachers could facilitate or hinder the transition process. Also emerging from the data were three types of advocacy that were practised by parents. The study findings add to our knowledge about the transition process and in particular how decisions are made and the factors that influence them. Moreover, this study gives a voice to youth with LD and their families as they described their transition experiences to post-secondary education or employment.
dc.publisherUniversité d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
dc.subjectlearning disabilities
dc.subjecttransition planning
dc.subjectecological systems theory
dc.subjectfamily systems theory
dc.titleExperiences and Expectations of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and their Families as they Transition from Secondary School to Post-Secondary Education or Employment
dc.contributor.supervisorDuquette, Cheryll
dc.degree.disciplineÉducation / Education
thesis.degree.disciplineÉducation / Education
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -