Abstract

How one perceives the self is critical to long-term development. The purpose of this study was to explore the self-perceptions of adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants included 51 adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their parents (n  =  50), and teachers (n  =  12). A mixed-methods design was used. Qualitative interviews revealed that although 55% of participants self-identified as having a disability, there was a lack of constructive or affirmative language used to describe disability. Overall, adolescents' understanding of disability appeared to be grounded in a deficit model. Quantitative analyses were used to explore demographic variables, adolescent' perception of parent support, and self-determination as possible predictors of global self-worth and social acceptance. Results indicate that family income and parent support are particularly salient for this population.

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