Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Ashton Trice

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Timothy Schulte


As students with disabilities prepare to move from high school to vocations or post-secondary schooling it is essential they be able to self-advocate for their needed services. During their public school years, school psychologists, counselors, and other school administrative personnel are responsible for ensuring they are provided with an “appropriate,” barrier-free education under federal law. But upon graduation from high school, that responsibility shifts entirely onto the individual. In order to self-advocate successfully a student with a disability must know about their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. In regards to learning the student must be able to describe them to others effectively; and be able to specify the needed services based on their weaknesses. They must also know something about the relevant laws so that if they experience resistance, they can reference their educational rights. Currently, there is very little research on how to go about informing students of their strengths and weakness. In order to talk appropriately to students with learning disabilities we must first understand how they and their nondisabled peers understand and talk about learning and cognitive processing. The purpose of this study is twofold; first, to understand how students talk about an effortful cognitive task, such as reading. Second, to investigate any relationships that may lie within responses collected from students of different age groups (fourth and sixth graders). In doing so, this study aims to find patterns within responses and deviations between responses. Due to low participation, only fourth grade students were interviewed. Patterns within their responses reflect dominantly there is an enjoyment of reading, but that may be contingent on material and difficulty. There is the conceptualization of the beginning stages or reading and that it occurs early in one’s academic career and the process gets easier with continued practice. And finally, responses reflect that by fourth grade students “thinking” while reading is directed towards the comprehension of the text and less towards the cognitive effort of reading.