Learning the Difference: From Young Adults with Learning Disabilities

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


This qualitative study is interested in looking at, and gaining a better understanding of the complexity of the lives of students with Learning Disabilities (LD). Previous research provides us with a framework of understanding how students with LD differ from their non learning disabled peers. This research also shows us, how students with LD, are treated differently in the classroom due to their behavior, learning style, social skills, etc. and how that causes them to be labeled as, ‘lazy’, ‘a slow learner’, ‘a class distraction’, the list goes on. As a consequence, these negative labels, lead these students to have low self-esteem, and experience other difficult social and emotional factors. Within this research, the unique experience of the individual is ignored. So given what we know, I am interested in the attitudes and perceptions that people have towards those with LD, and in turn how those attitudes and perceptions impact the individuals with LD. This research project aims to focus on the individual, and attempts to begin to understand that experience. In order to do this, I have conducted life history style interviews, with six young adults, who identify with having a learning disability(s). By recording life histories, I was able to ask meaningful questions to better grasp the complexity of their lives. This research gives us a glimpse into what it is like to live with a learning disability.


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