The Engagement Gap of Youth with Disabilities

This synthesis of literature on youth engagement (a) identifies differences across the literature in the focus and conceptualization of engagement for all youth and for youth with disabilities, and (b) proposes directions for future research to ensure that youth with disabilities are afforded greater opportunities to have access to opportunities to achieve higher levels of engagement such as civic engagement and organized youth action.

As a result of this presentation, participants will

1. … summarize the progressive stages of youth engagement from the early stages of youth services and youth development to more advanced stages such as civic engagement and youth organization.

2. … discuss the research to date on engagement of youth with disabilities and the need for research on advanced levels of engagement of these youth.

3. … summarize the focus of research on engagement of youth with disabilities and the extent to which research has been influenced by language in IDEA around transition planning.

4. … distinguish between the characterization of engagement of all youth and the characterization of engagement of youth with disabilities.

5. … describe different contexts for youth engagement, such as student engagement, positive youth development, and civic engagement, and discuss the theoretical foundations for research within these contexts.

Mary Ann Gorman, Joan Kester