DOI: 10.1177/15407969241235382 ISSN: 1540-7969

Perceptions of Postsecondary Experiences and Supports That Advance the Personal Goals of Students With Extensive Support Needs

Kirsten R. Lansey, Stephanie Z. C. MacFarland, Shirin D. Antia
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Health Professions
  • Social Psychology

Inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) programs at institutions of higher education are emerging as opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including those with extensive support needs (ESN), to progress toward their desired outcomes. This qualitative study aimed to understand the experiences and supports that current and recently graduated students in a dual enrollment nonresidential PSE program perceive as contributing to their self-directed employment, education, and social goals. Furthermore, this study explored how students’ perceived PSE affected their goal achievement and future lives. Findings from interviews with 10 participants with IDD, including eight with ESN, revealed that obtaining and maintaining competitive employment was negatively impacted by COVID-19, paid employment during PSE was not aligned with participants’ employment goals, internship experiences led to participants learning about their work preferences and changing their employment goals, and peer mentors impacted the achievement of participant’s employment, education, and social goals. Implications for practice and research and study limitations are described.

More from our Archive