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Perceptions and Expectations of Youth With Disabilities  (NLTS2)
NCSER 2007-3006
September 2007

Additional Analyses

Comparisons of Youth Respondents and Youth for Whom Parents Responded

At several places in this report, we remind readers that the youth who are its focus do not represent all youth with disabilities who received special education services in the NLTS2 age range; they are the subset of youth who responded to the NLTS2 Wave 2 telephone interview or mail questionnaire. Tables B-1 through B-4 compare this subsample—youth respondents—with youth for whom parents/guardians were the respondents with regard to their disability profile and selected demographic and school program characteristics.

The disability profiles of the group of youth who responded for themselves do not differ significantly from those of the youth whose parents were interview respondents. Youth respondents are more likely than youth whose parents were respondents to have high self-care skills (96 percent vs. 90 percent, p < .01)59, but these two groups do not differ significantly in their functional cognitive skills60 or social skills.61

Youth respondents have a pattern of higher functioning across several domains. They are less likely than those for whom parents responded to have trouble communicating (26 percent vs. 43 percent, p < .001), understanding speech (30 percent vs. 43 percent, p < .01), and using their arms and hands for fine motor activities (4 percent vs. 11 percent, p < .01). Youth respondents are more likely not to have functional domains affected by disability (45 percent vs. 36 percent, p < .01) and less likely to have as many as three or four domains affected (19 percent vs. 32 percent, p < .001). In line with these differences, youth respondents also are significantly less likely to have a disability identified in their first year of life (13 percent vs. 25 percent, p < .01), although there is no significant difference in their rate of receiving special education services during their first years in school.

Table B-1: Primary disability category of youth respondents and those for whom parents responded

Table B-2: Daily living scale scores of youth respondents and those for whom parents responded

Table B-3: Functional characteristics of youth respondents and those for whom parents responded

Table B-4: Age at identification of and first services for disabilities of youth respondents and those for whom parents responded

Differences in youth's services are apparent. Youth who were not their own respondents are more likely to receive several related and support services, including occupational therapy (20 percent vs. 11 percent, p < .01; not included in tables), personal assistant or in-home aide (35 percent vs. 21 percent, p < .01), and transportation services (17 percent vs. 8 percent, p < .01).

No significant demographic differences or differences in youth's instructional programs between the two respondent groups are apparent.


59 To assess the independence of youth in caring for their fundamental physical needs, parents of youth with disabilities were asked to rate how well youth can feed and dress themselves without help on a 4-point scale from "not at all well" to "very well." A summative scale of abilities ranges from 2 (both skills done "not at all well") to 8 (both skills done "very well").

60 Parents were asked to use a 4-point scale ranging from "not at all well" to "very well" to evaluate four of their sons' or daughters' skills that often are used in daily activities: reading and understanding common signs, telling time on a clock with hands, counting change, and looking up telephone numbers and using the telephone. These skills are referred to as "functional cognitive skills" because they require the cognitive ability to read, count, and calculate. As such, they suggest much about students' abilities to perform a variety of more complex cognitive tasks. However, they also require sensory and motor skills—for example, to see signs, manipulate a telephone, and so on. Consequently, a high score indicates high functioning in all of these areas, but a low score can result from a deficit in the cognitive, sensory, and/or motor domains. A summative scale of parents' ratings of these functional cognitive skills ranges from 4 (all skills done "not at all well") to 16 (all skills done "very well").

61 The social skills of youth with disabilities were assessed by asking parents to respond to nine items drawn from the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS), Parent Form (Gresham and Elliott 1990). Items were selected from the assertion and self-control subscales, skill sets considered by the design team to be most relevant to school success. Individual items were selected because they had high factor loadings on the relevant subscale and/or did not duplicate particular skills (e.g., controls temper with children and controls temper with the parent were not both selected). For each item, parents were asked whether their adolescent children exhibit each characteristic "never," "sometimes," or "always" (scoring 0, 1, or 2, respectively). An overall measure of social skills was created by summing the values across the nine items, producing a scale with raw scores that range from 0 to 18.