Qualitative assessment of successful individuals who have a learning disability
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study used qualitative methods to investigate successful individuals who had a learning disability. Six participants, three men and three women, along with their family members and significant others were interviewed. A participant observation was also conducted during each participant's typical day at work. Four common characteristics were found among the participants. These characteristics were organizational skills, drive, a match between strengths and career, and interpersonal competence. The characteristics identified by the study were similar to those found by Gerber and Ginsberg (1990); however, it was noted that over-reliance on one characteristic and an inability to adjust to success often created difficulties. Further, job satisfaction and eminence in one's field did not always mean self-fulfillment, happiness, and psychological maturity. A definition of success which suggests a balance between career, family, and social activities was given. The study noted that a key element in coping with a learning disability was that the individuals understood both their strengths and weakness. Family members indicated that the transition from school to adult life was critical and that the role of parent and family members' perceptions about the participants usually needed to be adjusted. Older participants indicated that having a son or a daughter who had a learning disability helped them to come to terms with their disability. They also noted the importance of having a diagnosis, so they could reframe their self-perception in terms of a condition rather than a sense of mental incompetence or laziness. Recommendations for future research in this field were presented.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Special Education and Rehabilitation