Longitudinal Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults with Learning Disabilities or Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Transition of Youth and Young Adults

ISBN: 978-1-78441-934-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-933-2

ISSN: 0735-004X

Publication date: 15 July 2015


Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2), this study compared the post-high school outcomes of young adults with learning disabilities (LD) or emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) in 1990 and 2005. These cohort comparisons reveal how the results of special education have changed over that time period as evidenced in the post-high school outcomes of nationally representative samples of youth. The extended data collection time period of NLTS2 (2001–2009) also enabled an assessment of the evolution in the post-high school outcomes of young adults with LD or EBD who had been out of high school up to 8 years. The post-high school outcomes considered included high school completion, postsecondary education enrollment and completion, employment status and wages, and community integration as illustrated by living arrangements and criminal justice system involvement. Findings for both the NLTS/NLTS2 cohort comparisons and the longitudinal analyses from NLTS2 indicate progress in efforts to improve outcomes for youth and young adults with LD or EBD but also underscore the work ahead in setting these groups on a path to successful adulthood. Implications for practice and research are discussed.



Partial funding for this study was provided by the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (grant number R324A100025) and by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, and the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (NIDRR grant H133B090018). The content does not represent the views or policies of the funding agencies and there should be no assumption of federal government endorsement through a NIDRR- and SAMHSA-funded subgrant from the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.


Wagner, M. and Newman, L. (2015), "Longitudinal Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults with Learning Disabilities or Emotional/Behavioral Disorders", Transition of Youth and Young Adults (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 31-61. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0735-004X20150000028003

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