PERCEPTIONS OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS ON CURRENT CURRICULAR EXPECTATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SEVERE AND PROFOUND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
With consideration of current mandated standards-based curricular requirements for students with Intellectual Disabilities, this dissertation sought to examine the perceptions of students and their immediate family on how this curriculum supports students with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (SID/PID) to realize their post-secondary goals and aspirations. This qualitative case study considered the implementation of a standards-based curriculum versus a life-skills curriculum on the achievement post-secondary goals from the Transition Plans of four individuals with SID/PID. Pre-interview questionnaires, document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and journaling methods were used to answer the research questions. The researcher transcribed each interview utilizing the online software Sonix. Once transcribed, interviews were uploaded to QDA Miner, an online qualitative data analysis software that assists in coding and retrieval. The researcher coded the interviews, creating categories and subcategories. Themes that emerged from the data addressed the following: 1) how standards-based and life-skills curriculum each prepare individuals with SID/PID for post-graduation, and 2) perceptions of immediate family members on the impact of these curriculums post-secondarily. Data showed that all four students passed every part of the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA), but none of the former students met 100% of their post-secondary goals. Four themes emerged from the data: 1) these families favored the development of independent life-skills prior to graduation for their loved one with SID/PID, 2) the families did not feel that academic curriculum fostered post-graduation attainment of Transition Plan goals, 3) the families believe that additional teacher training is needed to increase awareness of parents’ rights and options, and 4) the families believe there is a need for a family-centered curriculum. Recommendations for further study include conducting a longitudinal study of families of students with SID/PID from 9th grade to age 25. This type of study could explore the path that families must take and the experience of making life-altering decisions at the beginning of the transition process, the transition immediately following graduation, and for life beyond.
Lowe Windham, Meghan Dianne