A qualitative examination of postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities and the perceptions of parents and teachers towards these programs / by Emma S. Roundtree
Research has shown there is a gap in access to postsecondary education (PSE) programs for students with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Georgia. There is also a gap in the research literature concerning the perceptions of parents and teachers of students with ID towards these PSE programs. This study sought to examine these problems by using a qualitative case study research design. I found 30 institutions that offered PSE programs in Georgia. These institutions offered two-year and four-year degree and certificate programs. I explored ten of these programs in depth for this study. Six of these institutions offered programs for students with significant ID and allowed these students to participate in academic courses and other campus activities with their non-disabled peers. The other four programs served students with mild ID in an inclusive setting with appropriate accommodations. Next, I investigated the perceptions of parents and teachers of students with ID toward these PSE programs. The survey consisted of demographic information, a Likert-type scale, and an opportunity to participate in a follow up interview. Twenty-four parents and teachers of students with ID were recruited for this study; 22 participated. Six participants also completed follow-up interviews after the survey. These participants possessed limited knowledge of PSE programs but perceived the programs to be beneficial for students with ID. Participants believed their lack of awareness of these programs was due to a lack of collaboration and undeveloped relationships between PSE representatives and K-12 personnel. Participants also expressed concerns about the viability of services, parental/teacher involvement, and the overall outcomes of these programs. Future research concerning PSE programs for students with intellectual disabilities is recommended in order to investigate the ways in which these programs can aid a successful transition for these students from high school to independent adulthood.
Roundtree, Emma S.