Retrospectives on Factors Influencing Inclusive Opportunities for College Students with Multiple Disabilities

Researchers interviewed two college students with multiple disabilities and their primary caregivers to elicit information about educational factors that contributed to the participants’ eventual enrollment in postsecondary institutions. Major themes related to advocacy and to factors that influenced inclusive opportunities will be presented.  Implications for caregivers and individuals with disabilities will be provided. After reading this poster presentation and conferencing with the researchers, participants will be able to: Objective 1: Understand the impact of caregiver advocacy on educational services for the participants in this study. One major theme that emerged from this case study was that caregivers advocated for their children to be included in general education contexts. During the interviews, the caregivers provided multiple examples of their advocacy activities. These activities appeared to be instrumental in their children’s involvement and progress in the general education. Objective 2: Identify two strategies that caregivers in this study used to advocate for inclusive opportunities for their children. The advocacy activities identified were consistent across the caregiver participants and will be shared during the poster presentation. Objective 3: Identify factors that facilitated and challenged students’ access to the general education contexts. Another theme that emerged from the study was related to factors that influenced inclusive opportunities.  These factors pertained to location of services, personnel capacity, assistive technology use, and human and material supports and will be shared.

Ann-Marie Orlando, Elizabeth Klinepeter, Megan Foster