The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Voices from the Field: Special Education Case Managers’ Experiences with Disabled, LGBTQ+ Students

Joseph Hogan, Kean University (United States)


In the United States, students with disabilities have a legal right to a free and appropriate public education governed by federal and state laws through an individualized education plan (IEP) (IDEA, 04). Special education case managers are responsible for developing and monitoring student progress through the IEP. When disabled students also identify as LGBTQ+, case managers need to be prepared and have awareness of the needs of students with these intersecting identities. This study provides a sample of voices from the field, as case managers share their perceived knowledge and abilities to provide support for these students. Their experiences highlight the need for more preparation to better serve disabled, LGBTQ+ students. School experiences and post school outcomes for these students paint a picture of increased bullying, harassment, suicide, mental health needs, and underemployment. This qualitative study provides insights from those working with these students to understand their needs to help improve the outcomes and the school experience for disabled, LGBTQ+ students. This study can assist schools, preparation programs, and advocacy groups to better understand disabled, LGBTQ+ student needs, and the needs of those who work with them on a daily basis.   

KeywordsDisability, LGBTQ+, School, Special Education


[1] Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 (2004)

[2] Gage, N. A., Katsiyannis, A., Rose, C., & Adams, S. E. (2021). Disproportionate bullying victimization and perpetration by disability status, race, and gender: A national analysis. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 5(3), 256–268.

[3]​​ King, M. T., Merrin, G. J., Espelage, D. L., Grant, N. J., & Bub, K. L. (2018). Suicidality and intersectionality among students identifying as nonheterosexual and with a disability. Exceptional Children, 84(2), 141-158.

[4] Kosciw, J. G., Clark, C. M., & Menard, L. (2022). The 2021 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in our nation’s schools. GLSEN.

[5] Ormiston, C. K. (2022). LGBTQ youth homelessness: why we need to protect our LGBTQ youth. LGBT health, 9(4), 217-221.

[6] Rhoades, H., Rusow, J. A., Bond, D., Lanteigne, A., Fulginiti, A., & Goldbach, J. T. (2018). Homelessness, mental health and suicidality among LGBTQ youth accessing crisis services. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 49(4), 643–651.

[7] Shogren, K. A., & Ward, M. J. (2018). Promoting and enhancing self-determination to improve the post-school outcomes of people with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 48(2), 187–196.

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