Continued Education for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Phenomenological Study of Post High School Programming




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Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) struggle with isolation, loss of acquired skills and independence when they complete high school. Despite positive outcomes with individual involvement in Supported Employment or time limited Post-Secondary Education programs, previous research indicates that there is a gap in the literature relating to individual experiences in post high school, continued education programs that serve adults with a wide range of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand the most significant aspect of the common, or shared, lived experience of adults’ with IDD of a program that provides them a lifelong continued education approach to all intellectual levels offered by My Possibilities, a non-profit organization located in Plano, Texas, that offers continued education for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the North Texas region. Data was collected over 18 months through interviews with adults, their instructors, and parents. Four themes emerged describing their experiences and included Active Learning Community and Program Value, Social Network and Social Capital, Safe Haven and ‘The Push’ and Self-Management. These themes give a voice to adults with IDD and their opinions as they relate to this specific lifelong educational program.



Phenomenology, Adult education, Intellectual disability, Learning disabled