Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Judith L. Page


Social interaction is critical to health, quality of life, and linguistic and cognitive development. However, young people with intellectual disabilities are unlikely to have equitable opportunities for social interaction. This may be particularly true of adolescents. This study used qualitative phenomenological methods to examine the lived experiences of students in the general education setting interacting with their peers with intellectual disability. Twenty participants engaged in one on one interviews with the author. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for overarching themes. Four main themes emerged from the data including: (1) Teens just don’t have many opportunities to interact with peers with intellectual disability in the school setting because they are separated from each other both by school structure and by adult interference; (2) Teens feel that people with intellectual disabilities are different, and that feels complicated and can result in bullying and negative attitudes; (3) Teens feel that peers with and without intellectual disabilities should be integrated in school, and that can be positive, but some worry it could be burdensome, and (4) Teens feel they have to make accommodations for peers with ID. Additional research is needed to further examine the barriers to communication described by participants.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)