Results and Discussion
Descriptive statistics were used to summarize responses from the checklist and multiple choice type questions. Participant responses are discussed under three categories: (a) demographics and educational background of the participants, (b) content, function, and modes of communication in college, and (c) supports and barriers to communication.
There were 20 students from 10 different colleges or universities initially nominated for inclusion by cooperating personnel. A total of 13 of the 20 students who were nominated (65%), responded to the recruitment letter. However, two students who responded to the recruitment letter were excluded because one was scheduled to graduate before distribution of the questionnaire, and the other did not have cerebral palsy. Therefore, 11 of a total of 18 students met the sample criterion and responded to the recruitment letter (61 %). The low response rate may be due to the fact that recruitment letters were mailed at the end of the semesters at the various schools.
Of the 18 students who met the participation criteria, a total of 7 completed the questionnaire (39%). Follow up letters and phone calls were made to persons who returned forms indicating interest in the project but who did not return completed questionnaires (n = 4). The low questionnaire completion rate maybe due to the length of the entire questionnaire. The first author learned from three participants that the responses took more time than estimated in the recruitment letter to complete.
The 7 participants represented six different colleges or universities. Table I presents the demographic characteristics for the 7 participants. Four participants ranged in age from 18 to 48 years old. All individuals had cerebral palsy.
All seven participants had at least a high school diploma or a Graduate Equivalent Degree (GED)3. Of the participants who graduated from high school (n = 6), five reported receiving a range of services related to their disability that began between kindergarten and third grade. One person started receiving services between fourth and eighth grade. The most frequently received services were physical therapy (6 of 6), speech and language therapy (5 of 6), and occupational therapy (4 of 6). Of the respondents who answered the question on their use of disability services in college (n = 6), all reported that they received services related to their disability in college.
Four of the 7 participants entered a 4-year college or a university immediately following high school. The age at which these four participants graduated from high school ranged in years from 17-21. The remaining three participants were over 40 years old, and had entered a 2-year college prior to enrolling in a 4-year college or university. Two of the 3 who were over 40 years old reported graduating at age 18, while 1 person did not receive a high school education.