Students with learning disabilities have higher dropout rates and have lower wages and employment rates. Furthermore, students with learning disabilities are less likely to have a full-time job and are more likely to attend a two-year college rather than a four-year college compared to those without disabilities. Approximately three million students are classified as having a specific learning disability in the United States. The challenges and struggles they deal with during the school years continues into the world of work. Federal legislation (e.g., IDEA) mandates that a transition plan is included in a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which needs to consider the student's preferences and interests. Despite 'transition services' on a child's IEP, youth with learning disabilities often do not receive vocational education or a vocational evaluation. Clearly something is missing with the transition process. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the school-to-work career assessment of adolescents with learning disabilities compared to students in general education. This study compared the level of career decidedness of adolescents who are classified as having a learning disability to those who are not. Four aspects of the student were considered, which included the following: personality factors, identity status, career maturity, and career interests. It was hypothesized that those with learning disabilities are more likely to experience identity diffusion and career immaturity than those without a learning disability. In addition, it was hypothesized that those with learning disabilities have less career aspirations than those without learning disabilities. Lastly, this study explores the use of vocational assessment and implications for career counseling.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Learning disabled youth--Employment--United States; Learning disabled youth--Education--United States; School-to-work transition--Psychological aspects; Career development; Vocational guidance

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

School Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Psychology (CLA)


Scott Merydith

Advisor/Committee Member

Jennifer Lukomski


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at LC4704.5 .M47 2007


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