Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program/Concentration

Counseling

Committee Director

Theodore P. Remley, Jr.

Committee Member

Tara Hill

Committee Member

Dana Burnett

Abstract

Clients with learning disabilities constitute a cultural group that has not been extensively studied. The professional literature has found that counselors have reported the need for additional training in working with clients with disabilities. This study explored counselors' beliefs and perceived knowledge regarding counseling clients with learning disabilities. Participants in this study were college counselors, mental health counselors, and school counselors who were members of the following professional counseling associations: the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMCHA), and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). These counselors were assessed to determine their perceived competency regarding clients with learning disabilities and their multicultural competency. Additionally, group differences were assessed to determine if a difference existed between how counselor groups (college counselors, mental health counselors, and school counselors) reported their perceived competency regarding clients with learning disabilities and their multicultural competency. Counselors in this study completed a demographic questionnaire, a learning disability instrument, and a multicultural competency instrument. Surveys were distributed to 4,444 counselors. A total of 239 surveys were completed. Counselors' scores on the learning disability instrument revealed slightly positive beliefs and moderate levels of knowledge regarding clients with learning disabilities. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was utilized to assess counselors' perceived competency regarding clients with learning disabilities and counselors' multicultural competency. A statistically significant difference was found among counselors' scores on the learning disability instrument when controlling for educational program accreditation status and professional experience with clients with disabilities. Counselors from CORE accredited and CACREP accredited programs and counselors who had professional work experience with clients with disabilities reported more positive beliefs and higher levels of knowledge regarding clients with learning disabilities. However, no difference was found when counselor groups' (college counselors, mental health counselors, and school counselors) scores on the learning disability instrument were compared. Additionally, school counselors had significantly lower scores on the multicultural competency instrument when compared to college counselors and mental health counselors. These findings suggest a need for additional training and educational experiences related to clients with learning disabilities.

DOI

10.25777/0nrc-7243

ISBN

9781267397317

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