Differences in Post-School Visions Between Latino Students with LD, their Parents, and Teachers

2018-02-18T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Joanna M. Keel
This study explored perspectives about the desired components of adult life, and the necessary supports to achieve that post-school vision for twelfth grade Latino students with learning disabilities (LD) and their parents. Student, parent, and special education teacher perspectives were triangulated to understand the similarities and differences in expectations related to post-school goals and supports using focus groups, individual interviews, and document analysis of Individualized Education/Transition Plans (IEP/ITPs). This study provided a comprehensive picture of the post-school expectations and support needs of the participants in this sample by enlisting five triads of student, parent, and teacher participants (n=16) who were related (student-parent) and worked together (student-teacher). After consenting to participate in the study, participant groups met for one focus group each (three groups total). Within two weeks after each focus group, individual follow-up interviews were conducted with each participant. Student IEP/ITP documents were collected by the researcher prior to conducting all individual interviews to ensure that these documents were analyzed and used during individual interviews. The results of this study uncovered an overwhelming disconnect between what student and parent participants expressed they needed to support a smooth transition to post-school opportunities, and the services they were actually receiving. Most notably, students and parents in this study were not receiving comprehensive transition planning services. Teachers’ expectations of what students’ lives should look like after high school and the desires of the students and parents themselves were significantly different in key life areas. Overall, teachers expressed a lack of cultural understanding regarding students’ and parents’ choices for after high school. The results of this study raised significant questions about teacher knowledge of best practices in secondary transition with regard to legally mandated policies in transition planning and documentation. Equally as important, the critical component of collaboration with parents in culturally responsive ways was alarmingly absent from the discourse in this study. Study limitations, and implications for practice and research in secondary transition are presented.