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09/01/2010

Long-term Outcomes of Services for Two Persons with Significant Disabilities with Differing Educational Experiences: A Qualitative Consideration of the Impact of Educational Experiences


By: Diane Lea Ryndak, Terri Ward, Sandra Alper, Jennifer Wilson Montgomery, and Jill F. Storch

Abstract: Though research exists related to effective services in inclusive general education settings for students with significant disabilities, there are no longitudinal investigations of adult outcomes for persons with significant disabilities who received services in inclusive general education settings. This study uses qualitative methods to describe two persons with significant disabilities across settings over time. After originally receiving special education services together in a self-contained special education class in middle school, these individuals then received services in different types of settings (i.e., one received services in self-contained special education settings and one received services in inclusive general education settings) for the remainder of their educational careers. Findings indicated that the individual who received services in inclusive general education settings appeared to have achieved better adult outcomes as reflected in performance in community living and work contexts, interactions with schoolmates and co-workers, independent participation in naturally-occurring activities, and quality and size of a natural support network. In addition, the findings suggest the importance of a “benefactor” on the quality of long-term outcomes achieved by individuals with significant disabilities.
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