Ohio Youth Leadership Forum's Relationship With Skills to Improve Post High School Outcomes

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


School of Education and Health Sciences


Pamela Young


In the United States, individuals with disabilities experience much higher rates of unemployment compared to non-disabled individuals. When an individual with a disability is unemployed, they are unlikely to achieve independence, which can lead to a lower quality of life. The Ohio Youth Leadership Forum (OYLF) is a program that was created to increase post-high school success for individuals with disabilities by increasing the skills associated with self-determination and acceptance of disability. The primary purpose of this quasi-experimental design study that used primary quantitative data sources was to examine the relationship that the OYLF had on participants' learning regarding acceptance of disability and self-determination skills. This study used convenience sampling due to the application and selection process that occurs for students that want to participate in the OYLF experience. In addition, OYLF participants comprised the control group, and the comparison group consisted of students from high schools in a Midwestern suburban/urban school district. The types of data analyses that occurred in this study were descriptive statistics, factor analysis, two-way ANOVA, and an independent samples t-test. Analyses of the hypotheses regarding learning concerning self-determination and acceptance of disability at the OYLF occurred using repeated measures ANOVA. Results indicated significant difference between OYLF participants' pre-test and post-tests for self-determination and acceptance of disability. Furthermore, independent t-tests occurred to examine OYLF participants' post-test compared to the comparison group to show significant difference for acceptance of disability and self-determination skills. Finally, a large effect size was found for independent t-test for acceptance of disability and self-determination. These results are important because when individuals with disabilities have higher self-determination and acceptance of disability skills they increase their chances for employment and quality of life, which is one of the main objectives of the OYLF.


Special Education, Teaching, Ohio Youth Leadership Forum, Self-Determination, Acceptance of Disability, Students with disabilities, Increasing employment for individuals with disabilities

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