Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Micahel Lindstrom

Second Reader

Peg McCormick

Third Reader

Heidi Croatt


Parenting is a complicated journey that never ends for those who raise children with special needs. Families need to make several difficult decisions about life after high school, and they are often left alone to navigate those choices. Decisions on life after high school are one of several choices families are left to navigate. This qualitative study captures how parents decide and what they look for when enrolling in a tuition-based transition program. Through three focus groups, parents were interviewed to determine critical outcomes that were important in program selection and how they ended up making the final choice to enroll within a specific program. Parents who enroll in transition programs look for hands-on experience in a realistic environment. Factors such as student interest, personal philosophy, and advocacy influence how parents decide to enroll in tuition-based, residential programs. The information from this study will support and inform current programs to refine the transition programs process and remove barriers to access. The goal is to allow more families access and enhance programming for students.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation