Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


A current issue in the California Community Colleges is that of serving the "developmentally disabled" learner. Developmentally disabled students are an extremely heterogeneous group ranging from individuals who are intellectually gifted but who have severe physical impairments to those who are severely mentally retarded but who are physically perfectly sound. The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine the California Community Colleges' policies on serving the developmentally disabled adult and lo identify the federal and state statutes regulating the community colleges serving the developmentally disabled adult; (2) to determine what programs and related services are offered for the developmentally disabled adult at the California Community Colleges; (3) to identify what criteria are utilized by special education offices for determining a developmentally disabled adult's eligibility for their program(s); and (4) to develop a series of policies, guidelines, educational services, and related services for the developmentally disabled learner at Oxnard College and a plan for implementing and evaluating the program. Two survey questionnaires were developed as part of this study. The mail-in questionnaire was sent to each of the California Community Colleges. Upon receipt of the questionnaire, each institution identified as having an established developmentally disabled program was asked to complete the survey questionnaire as well as respond to a telephone survey. Their educational materials were also requested. Upon completing all telephone interviews and receiving all requested documents from the participating colleges, the data were tabulated and analyzed by utilizing content analysis, measures of central tendency, frequency distribution, and percentage. The findings revealed that: (a) twenty-five percent of the 106 California Community Colleges had established on-campus programs for students with developmental disabilities; (b) mandatory assessment and program placement were provided in over seventy percent of the colleges for this student population; (c) the most widely utilized services by the colleges in their programs for students with developmental disabilities were special classes, counseling, and physical education; (d) the range in student enrollment was noted from thirteen students to over 1,200 students; and (e) sixty-eight percent of the colleges surveyed had conducted forma l evaluations of their programs. It was concluded that: (a) programs for students with developmental disabilities on the California Community College campuses, for the most part, are still nonexistent; (b) not all of the colleges perceive a need to offer services to students with developmental disabilities; (c) developmentally disabled adults were appropriate community college students; (d) special education personnel have not been providing inservice training on a regular basis with any consistency to "regular" college faculty and staff; and (e) there are few available resources for developing programs for this student population on community college campuses. Recommendations were that: (a) results of the study be shared with appropriate administrators at Oxnard College for program implementation purposes; (b) the study should be used as a justification for the budget expense request for program implementation; ( c) additional funding sources be explored by appropriate Oxnard College administration; and (d) the Oxnard College special education department developmental disabilities specialist should provide an inservice training program for all Oxnard College administrators, faculty, and staff prior to the program's implementation and on an ongoing basis thereafter.

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