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ERIC Number: ED546153
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 148
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-9371-9
Understanding Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Higher Education
Tarallo, Amy E.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northeastern University
The research study sought to describe the experience of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in higher education. There may not be sufficient support within institutions of higher education for those students with ASD who wish to pursue advanced education; thus this study explored the experience of students with ASD attending an institution of higher education. A key element of the study focused on understanding the experience of students with ASD as they accessed support services. This issue continues to be relevant and significant in that it speaks to a growing population of students new to the higher education experience. Utilizing the methodology of qualitative design, a phenomenological study of a small group of students with ASD in the university setting was conducted. The following research questions were the focus of this study: "What is the experience of students with autism spectrum disorders attending an institution of higher education?" "What is their experience as it relates to available support systems at Northern University?" "How does an understanding of these experiences contribute to programming for students with autism spectrum disorders in higher education?" Analysis through the lens of disability theory and the achievement ideology enabled a deeper understanding of the students' overall experience of being a college student, yet one with the unique perspective of having ASD. The data analysis revealed much about the participants' experience in higher education, and this deep understanding highlighted critical aspects of support for students with ASD. Overall conclusions drawn indicated that the study participants felt very supported and encouraged by staff and peers. These students, in turn, were able to self-advocate in their efforts to achieve academic success. The number of students with ASD will continue to increase within institutions of higher education based on the growing student population in postsecondary education and the increasing resources available to these students. Implications for future study addressed this growth and the critical need for continued support and accommodations for these students. The recommendations both specific to this study and on a broader scale include: 1. Continued, clear communication about services available to students with ASD and other disabilities, 2. Accessibility of appropriate support, 3. Provision of volunteer peer tutors or academic peer support, 4. Disability awareness and training for university staff, and 5. Connections with specialists at universities to strengthen resources. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A