Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award




Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Antonina Lukenchuk

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Amy Barrios

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Ana Gomez de Torres


© Copyright by Oralia Guzmán-Wheeler (2022) All Rights Reserved iv Abstract More than half of English language learners with learning disabilities who enroll in college to obtain an undergraduate degree drop out. This narrative study’s purpose was to examine the ways English language learners with disabilities navigate the system of higher education and overcome challenges along the path toward college graduation. The participants in this qualitative interview study included six undergraduate students attending a 4-year college in central Texas. The narrative design involved participants sharing their lived stories and experiences in semistructured interviews. The data analysis revealed the following four main themes: (a) long and winding roads to success; (b) learning disabilities and English language learners: challenging labels; (c) navigating the system: is it all about accommodations?; and (d) simply move forward: overcoming challenges. The results of this study emphasized students’ awareness that they were their own advocates when overcoming obstacles and paving the way to success. The findings contribute to the body of research on English language learners with learning disabilities. University officials should consider developing programs targeting English language learners who are at risk of failing because of undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.