Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. Jacqueline Specht


The Ontario government implemented a community involvement requirement

for students to graduate from high school in 1999. There is scarce research about the enablers and barriers for students with disabilities and the overall impact of the program. A qualitative approach (i.e. 30 minute interviews) to explore the enablers and barriers from the students' perspective was initiated with students with learning disabilities. For the sample in this study there were no significant accommodations or barriers specific to having a disability. Similar to general research in this area, the program structure did impact their ability to fully participate in the community involvement experience including not knowing how to get started and a lack of time. Family and peer relationships were significant to their decisions of where to volunteer. Community service and volunteerism should be encouraged as a viable option for adolescents with disabilities to gain employment experience, social interaction and increase participation in community. The Ontario Community Involvement program

needs to be restructured to offer more support and guidance to students to provide them with the most optimal experience.



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