Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Hancock, Meg

Committee Member

Comeaux, Eddie

Author's Keywords

Academic support services; ADHD; college athletes; learning disabilities; self-advocacy; self-disclosure


Approximately only 1% of scholarly top-tier higher education published research focuses on the experiences of students with disabilities since the passing of the ADA in 1990 (Pena, 2014). Even fewer studies have explored the learning-disabled collegiate athlete experience. The purpose of this emerging phenomenological study is to understand the lived experiences of college athletes with learning disabilities and/or ADHD at NCAA Division 1 FBS institutions, giving voice to the untold stories, and commonalities amongst this population. This study provides findings grounded in student perspective by examining their experiences related to disability disclosure, self-advocacy, and academic support within the college environment. Five college athletes with ADHD and/or a learning disability participated in 90-minutes interviews. Three major themes emerged throughout the data including reactions and perceptions of others, being vocal and persistent, and building rapport and relationships. The results of this study help inform practitioners on best practices individually and systemically.