Factors that Contribute to Post High-School Success of Young Adults with Learning Disabilities


  • Amrit Thapa University of Pennsylvania
  • Megan Ice Long Island University
  • Jeff V. Ramdass Claremont Graduate University
  • Jonathan Cohen Teachers College, Columbia University




learning disabilities, learning differences, young adults, post-high school success, challenges


This study investigates internal and external factors that influence the post high-school success of young adults with learning disabilities. Graduates of Winston Preparatory School (n = 36)—a specialized school for students with learning disabilities located within the Northeastern United States—were interviewed between five and 10 years after their high school graduation. The research team used semi-structured interviews to garner information regarding their post-secondary education, employment, relationships, physical and mental health. Participant success was categorized based on ratings on success characteristics and success outcomes related to self-awareness, proactiveness, emotional stability, positive outlook for the present and future, and social support. Analysis of the interview data revealed that factors such as social support, mental health, seeking help for academics and/or employment, optimism, and self-awareness varied between those with more or less post- graduation success. Results suggest that future researchers and educators should focus on how to increase positive factors related to success after high school graduation.

Author Biographies

Amrit Thapa, University of Pennsylvania

Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Education

Megan Ice, Long Island University

Clinical Psychology

Jeff V. Ramdass, Claremont Graduate University

PhD student in Social Psychology 

Jonathan Cohen, Teachers College, Columbia University

Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Education