Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


People with visual disabilities--Education--Iowa; Children with visual disabilities--Psychology;


The purpose of this study was to compare the self-concept of teen-age learners who were visually impaired and enrolled in public day schools with those who attended a residential school. The target population was those individuals with a primary functional visual impairment, in the age range of 12 through 18 years, and who were engaged in an academic instructional curriculum. Seventeen students at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS) were the residential population, whereas 15 visually impaired students who were receiving support services of the itinerant teacher for the visually impaired participated as the public school population. All known students in the state of Iowa, ages 12 to 18 years, with a primary visual impairment were given an opportunity to be included in the research.

In general, local itinerant teachers of the visually impaired were resources for securing necessary parent and student permissions, in administering the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale in the primary learning medium, and in providing demographic information about each student. The researcher made the personal contacts with parents and students enrolled at IBSSS.

Demographic information included chronological age, grade placement, gender, age of onset of vision loss, learning medium, causation of vision loss, presence of a secondary disability, years of services in the current placement, intelligence, and extent of itinerant teacher services. The two groups had (a) comparable average chronological ages and grade placements, (b) a high proportion of males, (c) vision loss since birth, and (d) comparable frequency of print and braille use. Non-residential students had received their present level of services for more years than residential students. No patterns regarding a specific secondary disability nor cause of vision loss were derived. Most public school students received itinerant services for two hours or less per week.

Using a two-tailed t test to compare the difference in the mean self-concept scores for the residential and public school visually impaired students, a t value of $-$1.07, df = 30, and p =.294 was obtained and deemed not significant. When comparing the difference in the mean self-concept scores of those who used braille and print as the primary learning medium, a t value of $-$.18, df = 30, and p =.859 was determined and considered not significant. The comparison of mean raw scores on the self-concept scale showed no significant differences in the visually impaired youth included in this study.

The results of this study had limited generalizability and were applied to the visually impaired teen-age population in a rural region where a functional definition of visual impairment was used. The results added information to the overall body of knowledge regarding the impact of educational placement on self-concept and the relationship between learning medium and self-concept among visually impaired youth.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Lee Courtnage, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Marion R. Thompson, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 184 pages)



File Format