Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mari V. Tinney


Students with intellectual and other disabilities who age out of transition programs or graduate from high school may experience marginalization as young adults. There exists scant literature on the perceptions of parents about access to employment and services for their adult children with disabilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how parents perceived educational services, financial burdens, social isolation, and lack of access to employment for their children with intellectual and other disabilities. Critical disability theory and transformational theory constituted the study's conceptual framework. The research questions concerned how parents perceived access to services related to financial assistance, postsecondary education, employment, and vocational consultation. The design was a case study with a purposefully selected sample consisting of 5 parents from a Western U.S. state. Data sources included field notes, interviews, and artifacts. A field log, newspaper articles, and interview transcriptions were gathered, sorted, and categorized into themes. Results of the study revealed that employment gaps for adults with disabilities decreased with better knowledge about disability strengths, social capital, employer and employee diversity training, and competitive employment opportunities. A position paper was developed based on study findings, which was targeted to employers and included information on the reasons for a business to embrace diversity in the workplace. Business leaders' promotion of social enterprises that enable community inclusion and financial independence for people with disabilities may result in a positive paradigm shift towards equitable employment as a positive social change outcome.