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Listening to the learning disabled: Self-perceptions of learning disabled identity among college students
The purpose of this study is to examine how entering and exiting college students with learning disabilities (LD) understand and make meaning of themselves as learning disabled. The study is exploratory in that it attempts to identify, describe and analyze the processes involved in LD identity development. There have been few research studies that address the issue of identity and self-understanding for college students with learning disabilities. Overall, this study has theoretical and practical significance because it bridges the gaps that exist between current theoretical frameworks of social identity development and the field of learning disabilities. This will be achieved by providing descriptions of the ways in which college students with learning disabilities (LD) understand and make meaning of their learning disabilities. It is my intention that this study will assist educators and practitioners foster and create opportunities for LD college students which challenge their internalized perceptions of themselves as LD. This study utilized an exploratory qualitative research method consisting of three data collection methods: individual interviews, a focus group, and a written description of participants' learning disabilities. The interpretive framework for this study was constant comparative method (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992) and inductive analysis (Patton, 1990). Two findings of special significance emerged from this research data. First, the process of being labeled LD with its subsequent attached stigma negatively affects one's self-esteem and self-acceptance. In essence, LD students, who almost always internalize prescribed socially constructed stereotypes, initially believe the dominant ideology, experience feelings of shame, embarrassment, isolation and most often remain invisible in an attempt to pass as non-LD. Secondly, the data suggests that the process of identity formation for LD college students appears to be developmental, as suggested by three stages, denial, transition, and acceptance.
Higher education|Special education|Bilingual education|Multicultural education
Pliner, Susan Marcia, "Listening to the learning disabled: Self-perceptions of learning disabled identity among college students" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9932338.