This chapter draws on our long-standing ethnographic research on disability over the life cycle in the New York City (NYC) area. We focus on young adults with learning disabilities and their families as they prepare to leave high school. Despite legal mandates to include transition planning for students with disabilities, many schools have failed to provide more than perfunctory efforts to pave the way into the world beyond school. For those with learning disabilities (LD), the transition from educational institutions to life beyond is often experienced as a crisis. Unlike their peers without disabilities, many find themselves facing adulthood on their own without a net. In scores of interviews, we repeatedly encountered a sense of rupture of an anticipated life-course. Families frequently expressed dismay about the lack of support or direction for life beyond high school. We argue that these social inequalities have large implications, producing existential gaps in efforts to create a more expansive sense of American personhood for people with disabilities as they leave school. However, alternative social formations are also emerging, a process which involves creating a ŉew normal’ for young adults with disabilities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)