Smith, L. A. (2014). The experiences and sense-making of students with non-visible disabilities on their transition to college and utilization of academic accommodations: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (Publication No. 3665054) [Doctoral dissertation, Northeastern University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1637647171
Northeastern University (Boston, MA); ProQuest document ID: 1637647171; free and open-access on Northeastern webpage: https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/theses_and_dissertations or http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20018703
Accommodations in this interpretative phenomenological analysis of students' experiences of transition to the postsecondary level were various, pertaining to location of campus housing and to the academic context including testing accommodations such as extended time and low-distraction environment and combinations of these.
Participants included five students with a range of non-apparent disabilities, including attention deficit disorder, health impairments, learning disabilities, and processing delays, and combinations of these. Additional demographic information about these students, from a public university in the Southeast (U.S.), was reported.
There were no explicit dependent variables manipulated in this qualitative phenomenological study, and semi-structured interviews with a series of questions and follow-up probes were used to gather data.
The researcher reported three superordinate themes: developing identity, desiring credibility, and controlling information. These themes were reflected in nested themes of seeking independence, transitioning between discrete environments, and valuing sameness; seeking understanding from others, and valuing respect and trust from others; and desiring concealment, and reluctantly embracing interdependence. These themes indicate the student participants' perceptions about seeking and receiving accommodations and thereby coming to terms with their disabilities and needs as well as their interdependence and competence. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.