Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen


This study is intended to reveal helpful information that will guide high school practitioners in serving students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more effectively. ADHD is neurological in origin, making it invisible. This disorder makes people susceptible to distractibility, impulsivity, disorganization, frustration, anxiety, and moodiness (Janus, 1999). Fifteen percent or more of the U.S. population has ADHD. These individuals, who often are viewed by career counselors, teachers, and employers as frustrating or difficult, are uniquely vulnerable in high school and beyond. Because individuals with ADHD have invisible handicaps, their academic performance and social behaviors can be interpreted incorrectly. Thus, ADHD must be recognized and its effects understood if the consequences of the disorder are to be mitigated. Understanding the disorder and responding to the academic needs of individuals with ADHD will increase their chances of success.

This phenomenological study inquired into the participants' life experience, including their early, adolescent, and high school experiences; critical factors they identify as important in achieving their career success; and the important mentors in their lives. The sample for this study included 9 men who are recent graduates from a Midwestern school system ranging in age from 19 to 23 years. Interviews were conducted either in person at the participant's residence or over the phone. The first part of the interviews involved collecting general information about the participant, such as age, level of education, and employment status. The second part of the interview asked questions on how they negotiated their secondary program with their disability and how they made their career decisions.

Through vigorous data analysis, three critical factors have been identified: (a) academic and social relationships with staff members, (b) curriculum offered, and (c) family encouragement. The findings have implications for educating key stakeholders such as teachers, principals, and parents in early identification and instructional strategies to help ensure student's success.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access