Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

U.S.-born Salvadoran American women with learning disabilities in transition to adulthood
by Ortiz, Deanna M., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2010, 315; 3412104
Abstract (Summary)

This exploratory and descriptive qualitative interview study examined the postsecondary experiences of three Salvadoran-American women with learning disabilities (LD) living in the District of Columbia in the 3 years since graduating from high school. This research analyzed the young women‘s experiences in employment, education, community involvement, and family and home life. It also considered their self-determination behaviors and mindsets and the ways in which cultural and linguistic diversity may have affected their experiences.

Reviewed literature found that research specific to Latinas with LD was limited. However, quantitative and qualitative research related to this population illuminated the challenges and opportunities this population may experience. Transition policies and practices, the theoretical construct of self-determination, and Latino and mainstream U.S. cultural values were examined to explore how cultural factors may influence the transition process for Latinas with LD.

The results are divided into two major sections, narrative biographies and thematic analysis. Results indicated that many factors fostered success for the young women, including goals related to upward mobility, their ability to persevere and problem-solve, supportive people and environments, and their confidence in their capacities, positive attitudes, and self-knowledge. Results also indicated that they faced many challenges stemming from inadequate academic and transition-related preparation in high school, including insufficient knowledge of the following: the specifics of their LD, typical college policies and procedures, and how to access services for adults with LD. Results also indicated that the young women were in the process of figuring out new roles within their families. These roles brought about a significant increase in responsibilities. Finally, results indicated that cultural factors may have influenced their experiences, especially related to their family lives.

The discussion provides an analysis of factors that may have contributed to the young women‘s successful outcomes and their struggles. It also discusses the possible effects of cultural factors, including transcultural identities, interdependence in the transition process, the benefits of being Salvadoran-American, and the importance of interpersonal relationships. The potential significance of cultural capital is also discussed. Recommendations for research and practice are provided.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Taymans, Juliana M.
Commitee: Green, Colin, Kochhar-Bryant, Carol A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Transition Special Education
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Culturally and linguistically diverse, Latina, Latino, Learning disabilities, Special education, Transition
Publication Number: 3412104
ISBN: 978-1-124-09303-1
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