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ERIC Number: EJ1161634
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-827X
A Collaborative Support Model for Students on the Autism Spectrum in College and University Housing
Ackles, Laurie; Fields, Harold; Skinner, Rona
Journal of College and University Student Housing, v40 n1 p200-212 2013
High functioning students with autism spectrum disorders are being admitted into institutions of higher education at an increasing rate. Although these students often have strong cognitive abilities, impairments in social behaviors and communication may negatively influence their ability to navigate a residential experience. Developing peer relationships, adjusting to shared living arrangements, managing the organizational aspects of independent living, and coping with complex sensory issues further complicate the residential living experience for students on the autism spectrum. These complications can lead to roommate conflicts, anxiety, isolation, and student attrition. When approached from a developmental and cultural perspective, there is much the higher education community can do to support the unique challenges of students on the autism spectrum. However, fostering living environments that support the growth and development of these students while supporting the larger residential community requires a collaborative approach. Partnerships between housing staff who place students, residential life professionals who support them in their living environment, and campus disability officers who better understand the needs of students with disabilities are the key to developing practices that support the entire campus community. This article addresses best practices for serving high functioning students on the autism spectrum in residential communities in terms of both the logistical and student development arenas. specific focus is given to practices related to strategic housing assignments, early arrival programs, paraprofessional and professional training, preemptive education for students on the autism spectrum, and coaching and mentoring programs that can strengthen their residential living skills. [Discussion questions developed by Michele Armstrong, graduate student, University of Iowa, and Sam Gavic, graduate student, Virginia Tech.]
Association of College and University Housing Officers - International. 941 Chatham Lane Suite 318, Columbus, OH 43221. Tel: 614-292-0099; Fax: 614-292-3205; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A