Title: Quality Of Life Through The Eyes Of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities In Malta

Author: Lara Maria Farrugia

A dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MEd Inclusion and Special Educational Needs in the School of Education

Abstract: This qualitative study investigated quality of life through the use of a phenomenological approach which explored the experiences and perceptions of adolescents with learning disabilities in Malta. In this study, eight adolescents with learning disabilities took part in a focus group and discussed which factors they perceive as being important in their lives. These findings indicate that these adolescents perceive friendship, independence, self-determination and the future as key factors in their lives. Three short listed adolescents were also interviewed together with their parents to elicit more in-depth information. This interview demonstrated the urge these adolescents have for more social contact with friends. Parents also mentioned the need for more disability awareness amongst school peers and more self-determination skills. This study also included the adolescent’s future aspirations which included employment and family life. This was backed up with the parent’s suggestions which included the need for more openings for post-secondary education, employment and supported living opportunities. This study will aim to shed light on the way adolescents with learning disabilities experience their life in Malta. Findings will also aim to support and offer advice to parents and service providers who work hand in hand with individuals with learning disabilities.

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