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Comparisons Across Time of the Outcomes of Youth With Disabilities up to 4 Years After High School
NCSER 2010-3008
September 2010

Social and Community Involvement

Living successfully in their communities has long been considered central to youth with disabilities' quality of life (Halpern 1985). An important aspect of whether a youth is living successfully in the community is the "adequacy of his or her social and interpersonal network [which]…is possibly the most important of all" aspects of adjustment for young adults with disabilities (Halpern 1985, p. 480). The participation of youth in organized, extracurricular community groups did not differ between 1990 and 2005. In addition, the rates at which youth with disabilities were reported to have a driver's license were not different between the two cohorts for youth with disabilities overall.

  • Reported rates of youth with disabilities participating in volunteer or community service activities were higher in 2005 than in 1990 by 13 percentage points (25 percent vs. 13 percent).
  • Youth with disabilities as a group had a higher reported rate of voter registration in 2005 than in 1990 (53 percent vs. 67 percent, 14 percentage-point difference).
  • The one negative form of community participation that can be compared between NLTS and NLTS2 is the rate at which youth with disabilities out of high school up to 4 years were reported to have been arrested at some time in their lives. This rate was 11 percentage points higher in 2005 than in 1990 (27 percent vs. 16 percent).