Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



During the last 50 years, the overrepresentation of students from African American decent in special education programs has engendered much concern within the education community. In addition, the problem of disproportionate representation of African American students in special education exists in American society as a whole. Given these statistics, little information is available on the perceptions and experiences of African American students with learning disabilities (LD) as they enter higher education. The review of literature indicates that the body of research lacks the voices of African American students with LD in higher education. Lack of research in this area puts unnecessary constraints on the possibility of enhancing the academic achievement and building on cultural experiences as well as preferred learning environments of African American students with LD. The purpose of this study is to illuminate actual experiences and perceptions of three African American male students with LD matriculating in the university settings. The results of this research add to the literature on African American students with LD in higher education and gives voice to those African American students that are underrepresented in the special education literature addressing their experiences in the post-secondary setting. This research reflects the experiences and perceptions of African American students with LD while bringing awareness to higher education faculty, staff, and peers to allow African American students with LD to participate fully in their education and complete college successfully. The results of this case study revealed that participants experiences and perceptions as an African American student with LD have limited impact in their post-secondary education. Participants associated themselves more with being a college student without identifying with the special education label.'


African American college students--Attitudes--Case studies, Learning disabled--Education (Higher)--Case studies

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Barrera, Isaura

Second Committee Member

Nielsen, Elizabeth

Third Committee Member

Torres, Eliseo