Factors influencing transition for students with disabilities: The American Indian experience

Karen L. Applequist, Rachel Mears, Roxanne Loyless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore those factors impacting successful transition of American Indian students with mild to moderate disabilities to postsecondary academic settings and other lifelong learning opportunities. Thirty-five individuals from three Southwestern tribes were interviewed about personal factors during transition, and secondary, and postsecondary experiences. A second interview was conducted with 14 participants approximately two years later to follow-up on the progress of the student following transition. Many of the participants did not see themselves as active participants in the IEP process and educational placements ranged from inclusive to more traditional resource classrooms and self-contained settings. Secondary teachers and mentors offered support and encouragement to participants. Fewer participants received accommodations in postsecondary settings, and in some instances instructors lacked an understanding about ADA and ways to modify instruction. Participants highlighted the importance of family and religion in their lives throughout the transition process. Those participating in both interviews showed statistically significant positive change in self-ratings of dimensions of self advocacy and self-determination. Implications of the findings will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Special Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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