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

Comparison With Parent Expectations

Two years before youth with disabilities were asked about their expectations, their parents were asked to report on the perceived likelihood that their adolescent children with disabilities would reach these education and independence milestones. A comparison of parents'45 and youth's expectations on the same set of expectations using the same 4-point scale indicates that, overall, parents tend to hold lower expectations for their adolescent children's future achievements than youth hold for themselves (figure 23). Across the various milestones, youth are 7 to 26 percentage points more likely than parents to expect they "definitely" will attain education and independence outcomes. Differences between parents' and youth's expectations "definitely" to attain these milestones are statistically significant for all education and independence outcomes,46 with the exception of expectations related to living independently without supervision. For example, more than half of youth with disabilities expect they "definitely" will continue their education after high school, whereas fewer than one-third of their parents expect them to do so (52 percent vs. 29 percent; p < .001), and approximately two-thirds (65 percent) "definitely" expect to be financially self-supporting, compared with fewer than half (47 percent) of their parents predicting their children will achieve financial self-sufficiency (p < .001).

Despite these differences, parents' and youth's expectations are related to each other in that youth who hold higher expectations tend to have parents who hold higher expectations for them. Correlations between youth's and parents' expectations are significant for all education and independence-related outcomes,47 with correlation coefficients ranging from r = .21 (p < .001) for expectations related to completing a postsecondary vocational or technical program to r = .74 (p < .001) for expectations related to getting a driver's license.

45 NLTS2 Wave 1 2001 parent expectations reported in this chapter include only parent responses for the subset of youth with disabilities included in this report. Note that the 2-year difference between recording parents' and youth's expectations may result in differences in expectations, apart from the differences between parents and youth themselves.

46 All relationships are significant at the p < .01 or p < .001 level.

47 Expectations related to the likelihood that youth will live away from home with supervision are not included in these analyses because only a subset of respondents were asked this item.