Postsecondary Physical Support Programs, Independent Living and Economic Self-Sufficiency for Individuals with Significant Physical Disabilities
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling
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This study explores the extent to which completion of an undergraduate degree that includes disability management course work contributes to independent living and economic self-sufficiency of graduates with severe physical disabilities. Observations of these graduates’ independent living and economic self-sufficiency status at a single point in time after graduation are reported. Finally, recommendations for how disability service professionals can respond to these findings are offered. Conclusions suggest that current and future students will benefit from a paradigm shift that includes a critical examination to ensure that the student’s postsecondary decision considers potential earning capacity after graduation is sufficient to cover the individual’s cost of care while ensuring that the individual is in the best position to maintain a livable wage that is inclusive of disability-related costs. This requires an analysis beyond the typical evaluation of interests, strengths and abilities when disability service professionals are collaborating with an individual on developing an employment goal.