The Long-Term Effects of Interventions on Student Quality of Life: One Year Follow-Up

Apr 28 2022

Key Takeaway:

Studies show that the positive response of a school towards students with learning disorders, beyond academics, has a positive impact on their overall quality of life (QOL) further down the line. Schools and educational policies need to ensure that their response to student evaluations and identified interventions will bear positive long-term effects on their students. —Nika Espinosa

Going Beyond Academic Proficiency

Most of the interventions that schools provide for students with learning disorders cater to improving academic proficiency. “However, learning disorders can have meaningful psychosocial implications for both the children and their families.”1 As educators, we are aware of the impacts of learning disorders on self-esteem, self-efficacy, and even the effects of the diagnosis on the entire family. 

This contributes to a student’s overall quality of life (QOL). “QOL can include psychosocial factors but more broadly refers to the individual’s well-being as it relates to personal and social contexts, rather than internal states (e.g., depression, anxiety) or specific behaviors.” The authors of this study documented the QOL of students with learning disorders a year after the school had provided responses and/or interventions. 

There are studies that show the beneficial effects of academic interventions on the social outcomes of students. “Thus, specialized instruction has the potential to accrue benefits extending beyond academic skill acquisition.” However, there are no studies that examine the effects of these interventions on students’ QOL. 

Findings from Response to Assessment One Year Later

The authors of this study, Waber et al., believe that QOL can be a potential indicator to guide the services provided by schools. “More specifically, a positive response from the school to the child’s learning disorder, including provision of special education services, could alleviate school-related stress, thereby leading to improved school-related QOL for the child and family.” Therefore, a negative response could have the opposite effect. 

The initial findings show that in just one year, a student’s QOL was dependent on the school’s response to assessment and evaluation, whether this was positive or resulted in little to no change. An increase in interventions and/or a positive response to the evaluation rendered an improvement on academic QOL, along with parental perception that the school understands their child.

Based on these findings, “psychosocial and quality of life issues should thus be a central consideration for research and clinical practice as well as policy.”

Summarized Article:

Waber, D. P., Boiselle, E. C., Forbes, P. W., & Sideridis, G. D. (2021). Special Education Services and School-Related Quality of Life in Children With Learning Disorders and Their Families: A One-Year Follow-Up Study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 002221942110608.

Summary by: Nika Espinosa—Nika believes that personalized learning is at the heart of special education and strives to collaborate with educators in providing a holistic, personalized approach to supporting all learners through the MARIO Framework.

Additional References:

  1. Al-Yagon, M. (2015). Externalizing and internalizing behaviors among adolescents with learning disabilities: Contribution of adolescents’ attachment to mothers and negative affect. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(5), 1343–1357.
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