Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Paradise, Louis V.

Second Advisor

Scott, Randall

Third Advisor

Galle, William

Fourth Advisor

Hulse-Killacky, Diana


College students with visual disabilities are less likely to graduate than their sighted counterparts. The purpose of this study was to understand the life experiences of successful college students with visual disabilities. Concepts of risk and resiliency were used as a conceptual framework for understanding how people can have positive outcomes in spite of adversity. Individual, family, school, and community influences were explored. In-depth interviews were conducted with six participants who have vision impairments and were nearing the completion or had recently completed a college degree. Data were analyzed for common themes and meanings using a phenomenological method advanced by Moustakas (1994). Validity threats were minimized through triangulation, member checks, and thick data. Risk and protective factors in the context of family, school, and community for successful college students with visual disabilities were identified. Implications for rehabilitation counselors, college counselors, and special education teachers were discussed. Interventions to move students with visual disabilities toward resiliency and minimize the impact of risk factors that impede success were proposed. Suggestions for future research were offered.


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