"I'm Bright Enough to Do It, Even Though Sometimes I Feel I Can't Do It": Perspectives of High School Students with Learning Disabilities About Existing Supports to Achieve Graduation

David J. Connor, Wendy Cavendish, Armineh Hallaran, Louis Olander


Little evidence exists about how students with Learning disabilities (LD) recognize, understand, and utilize existing supports to ensure successful graduation from high school. In this article we ask: What are the supports available to high school students with LD that help them graduate? (a) What/who are some school-based supports they identify? (b) What/who are some non-school supports they identify? We share data from semi-structured interviews with forty high school students. Findings reveal: teacher support in the form of pedagogical choices, individualized support, and after-school support; counseling expertise in the form of academic advisement and emotional support; effective family-school collaboration; discrete family support outside of school; and various forms of self sustenance. Implications of these findings are discussed before recommendations are made to various stakeholders in the school community with the view to improving supports of students with LD toward helping them successfully graduate.


Learning Disabilities; Disability Studies; Disability Studies in Education; High School; Transition; Student Voice; qualitative research; families; communities; school systems

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v40i2.6665

Copyright (c) 2020 David J. Connor, Wendy Cavendish, Armineh Hallaran, Louis Olander

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Volume 1 through Volume 20, no. 3 of Disability Studies Quarterly is archived on the Knowledge Bank site; Volume 20, no. 4 through the present can be found on this site under Archives.

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact libkbhelp@lists.osu.edu.

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)