SURF

Tabitha Mancini

Understanding and Self-Advocacy: Students with Learning Disabilities, Unrecognized Talent

It is estimated that approximately 15% of the U.S. population has some type of learning disability (LD) (LDA, 2012). Though there is a growing body of research about people with LDs, this population is still dramatically misunderstood and underserved. Due to the amount of people in the U.S. who are now discovered to have LDs and the magnitude of the correlations to the social issues that exist, there continues to be a growing interest in identifying the barriers to success that this population faces. This research focuses on the effect of diagnostic testing to self-understanding and the ability a student has to self-advocate. With thousands of different LD diagnostic tests used, remarkably there is no one testing, clinician-training, or documentation model used. My question asks: What is the effect of the availability and inconsistencies of testing models on self-advocacy for students with learning disabilities in postsecondary education? The aim of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of how diagnostic testing affects self-advocacy by hearing the voices of students who continually find barriers to success. This research hopes that it will contribute to the understanding of students with LDs in an effort to break down barriers, creating pathways for a population that has the (dis)ability to live successful lives and contribute to the future of our nation. This research will be the basis for my Senior Honors Thesis in Sociology and submitted for publication.

Message to Sponsor

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program will give me practical experience researching a topic in-depth, working with a cohort of high achieving peers, and the opportunity to work with a group of stellar advisors and faculty to gain feedback through the research process. With this experience I hope to have three distinct outcomes: a finished product that will serve as a foundational jumping off piece for the rest of my academic career and professional endeavors, training for academic work in graduate school, and personal growth and understanding that will serve to guide me when deciding on graduate programs.
  • Major: Sociology
  • Sponsor: Wishek Fund
  • Mentor: Georgina Kleege, English