NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED555469
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 114
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-5527-8
College Students on the Autism Spectrum: Social Experiences and Self-Disclosure
Altman, Kate
ProQuest LLC, Psy.D. Dissertation, Chestnut Hill College
This qualitative, phenomenological study examined the social experiences of college students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), along with the impact of self-disclosure on those social experiences. Research on college students with ASDs is limited; college guides for students on the spectrum and autobiographies of adults with ASDs suggest that the social symptoms of autism spectrum disorders inhibit social success and may lead to misunderstanding and misjudgment from peers. Autobiographical accounts from individuals with ASDs indicate that college has the potential to be a successful and rewarding time for young adults on the autism spectrum, and may serve as a "test pilot" situation for social success in adulthood (Shore, 2003; Grandin, 1996). The purpose of this study was to learn directly from college students with ASDs about their perceptions of their own social experiences and what roles their symptoms have played in those experiences. Participants (13 college students between ages 18 and 23 with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum) met individually with the researcher and answered questions from a semi-structured interview. Results of the study revealed some common themes, such as: all of the participants report feeling socially accepted at college and the majority of the participants said that they have made real friendships in college. Most of them made friends by meeting peers in classes and in the dorms. The majority of the students interviewed said that their self-esteem has increased since beginning college and that their college experiences have had a direct, positive impact on self-esteem. The results of this study indicate that college counseling centers ought to be prepared to work effectively with students on the autism spectrum by employing at least one counselor who specializes in working with this population, and regularly training other counseling center staff. Other clinical implications include: supporting and guiding young adults with ASDs in appropriate disclosing their diagnoses to peers to elicit support and understanding; encouraging college students on the spectrum to join (or create) peer support groups for individuals with ASDs, and providing young adults with ASDs with the tools necessary to become self-advocates. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A