Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Holly Foster

Committee Chair School



The problem addressed in this study is the lack of guidance for adult education programs in how to best prepare students with mild or moderate intellectual disabilities for transitioning to independent living and work. To address this problem, this study surveyed 4,429 disability practitioners, adult educators, and educators in post-secondary programs serving adults with intellectual disabilities to identify which skills post-secondary education programs for adults with intellectual disabilities should include in their curriculum; determine what unique needs adults with intellectual disabilities have that programs should prepare to meet; identify what services institutions should include in programs for adults with intellectual disabilities to support these program goals; and identify which program characteristics are important when implementing a new program.

The study shows that post-secondary programs for adults with intellectual disabilities should focus on job training for future careers and employability skills; particularly arriving on time, accepting authority, and managing emotions. The study also shows that programs should include a mix of reading, math, digital literacy, and independent living skills. Programs need to consider offering tutoring, peer mentorship, and connections to outside resources.