Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


College of Education

First Advisor

Richard Cohen

Second Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Third Advisor

William Leary


When students with learning disabilities (LD) move from a high school environment in which they are often carefully guided to a setting in post-secondary education, where they are expected to achieve on their own, they may encounter transition difficulties.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the transition programs in place in high school for six successful students with learning disabilities who were enrolled in an institution on a post-secondary level and to measure the effectiveness of the practices of those programs in conjunction with internal characteristics that students brought with them to that environment. The outcome of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of those transition programs that might have ultimately enhanced participants' transition adjustments including academic, social and personal.

The participants were interviewed individually, given three sections of a written questionnaire to fill out taken from a Transition Planning Inventory Student Form developed by PRO-ED, Inc., in 1997, and asked a series of questions formulated by the investigator. High School transition programs were compared to best practices of transition programs, based on former research.

The nature of this study was descriptive. The information in this qualitative study provides insight currently lacking in the literature on transition programs. It was observed that one of the most significant factors in the success of LD students transitioning to post-secondary education is each student's own measure of self-determination, along with the transition program experienced in high school. There was no attempt made by this investigator to prove or disprove the literature regarding transition services for LD students in high school. It was this investigator's hope that this study would illuminate some of the realities of transition programs and encourage the giving of credit where credit was due for success -- to the existing transition programs and to the individual students themselves.

Research Questions

  1. Does the existence of transition services affect the post-secondary education of students with learning disabilities?
  2. How do self-determination, the ability to communicate, and interpersonal relations contribute to the success or failure of LD students in post-secondary programs?



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