Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Charlane Starks

First Committee Member

Heidi Stevenson

Second Committee Member

Thomas Nelson


Students who use mobility aids add to the diversity of postsecondary institutions. They provide a unique and important lens on postsecondary campuses. When students who use mobility aids arrive on campus, they need to ensure they have access to classes, services, and resources on campus. Because of their varied needs and varied access from campus-to-campus, students who use mobility aids must advocate for themselves so their needs are met. This phenomenological study examined the role of self-advocacy for postsecondary students who use mobility aids.

Five postsecondary students who use wheelchairs were interviewed using a semi-structured interview process that asked questions about self-advocacy and experiences within the postsecondary environment as students who use mobility aids. Data analysis included bracketing of researcher influences on the data, writing descriptions of participant experiences, and horizontalization. The following themes emerged from the data analysis process: Effects of disability on education, Effective and ineffective access, Uses of self-advocacy, and Knowledge for self and others. Findings revealed that the educational pursuits of the study participants were often affected by their disability because of campus access and attitudes of faculty and peers, which made self-advocacy a necessary skill to use while pursuing their education.





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