“This is the School I Want” Young Adults with Intellectual Disability Describe Their Perceptions of a Good Vocational School

Anneli Hermanoff, Kaarina Määttä, Satu Uusiautti


Vocational education is a remarkable phase of life for all young people, including the ones with intellectual disability (ID). In addition to vocational skills and knowledge, vocational special education provided to people with ID has to meet their needs and enhance their life-management skills. However, their own perceptions of the quality of education has been less studied. The purpose of the research at hand was to give voice to young adults with ID themselves and ask how they would describe their ideal vocational school. In this qualitative study, 14 Finnish young adults with ID (aged 17-23) were interviewed. The study employed a narrative approach to reach the participants’ voices and experiences. According to the findings of this research, the location of the study place, company of same-aged peers, supportive teachers and tutors, and varied teaching arrangements typified a good study place. As the conclusion of the study, the ideal school according to the perceptions of young adults with ID is presented as a combination of the physical, pedagogical, and social learning environments. Education that can be molded according to individual needs and provides sufficient and tailored support and guidance services—in addition to hearing the young adults’ own hopes and wishes—strengthen personal sense of responsibility, and transition toward adulthood and as independent life as possible.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v7i1.10400


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