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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Gregory B. Gray
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: Career Decision Making for Male Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Model of Critical Factors Aiding in Transitional Efforts
Dr. Jianping Shen, Chair
Dr. Gary Wegenke
Dr. Sarah Summy
Date: Thursday, May 7, 2009 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
3306 Sangren Hall
This study is intended to reveal helpful information that will guide high school practitioners in serving students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more effectively. ADHD is neurological in origin, making it invisible. This disorder makes people susceptible to distractibility, impulsivity, disorganization, frustration, anxiety, and moodiness (Janus, 1999). Fifteen percent or more of the United States’ population have ADHD. These individuals, who are often viewed by career counselors, teachers, and employers as frustrating or difficult, are uniquely vulnerable in high school and beyond. Because individuals with ADHD have "invisible handicaps," their academic performance and social behaviors can be interpreted incorrectly. Thus, ADHD must be recognized and its effects understood if the consequences of the disorder are to be mitigated. Understanding the disorder and responding to the academic needs of individuals with ADHD will increase their chances of success.
This phenomenological study inquires into the subjects’ life experiences, including their early, adolescent, and high school experiences; critical factors they identify as important in achieving their career success; and the important mentors in their lives. The sample for this study includes nine males who are recent graduates from a Midwestern school system ranging in age from 19 to 23 years old. Interviews are conducted either in person at the participant’s residence or over the phone. The first part of the interviews involves collecting general information about the subject, such as age, level of education, and employment status. The second part of the interview asks questions on how they negotiated their secondary program with their disability and how they made their career decisions.
Through vigorous data analysis, three critical factors have been identified: (a) academic and social relationships with staff members, (b) curriculum offered, and (c) family encouragement. The findings have implications for educating key stakeholders such as teachers, principals, and parents in early identification and instructional strategies to help ensure student success.