THE INCLUSIVE UNIVERSITY: AUTISM/ASPERGERS SYNDROME
This section focuses on the many issues related to individuals who identify themselves as autistic or are diagnosed within the autistic “spectrum” who participate in postsecondary education. Most of these resources offer examinations of those factors related to those participating in postsecondary education and where possible include perspectives of autistic students, staff or faculty themselves.
Adreon, D., & Durocher, J. S. (2007). Evaluating the college transition needs of individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Intervention in School and Clinic, 42
Increased attention has been given recently to the needs of students with learning and developmental disabilities who are transitioning from high school to college. This is especially important for students with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD), who are likely to experience significant and unique challenges in adjusting to postsecondary educational settings. After an overview of diagnostic criteria, symptom presentation, and treatment approaches for high-functioning students with ASD, this article discusses the type of difficulties students may encounter across various domains, including socialization, communication, independent daily living skills, academic functioning, and self-advocacy. The article concludes with recommendations for areas to be evaluated and addressed when determining the supports students with high-functioning ASD need to succeed in meeting the organizational, academic, and social demands of college life.
Ashkenazy, E., & Latimer, M. (Eds.). (2011). Navigating college: A handbook on self advocacy written for autistic students from autistic adults.
Washington, DC: Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Retrieved from: http://navigatingcollege.org
“Leaving high school and going to college is complicated for everyone. But if you’re a student on the autism spectrum who is about to enter higher education for the first time, it might be a little bit more complicated for you.
Maybe you’re worried about getting accommodations, getting places on time, or dealing with sensory issues in a new environment. Maybe you could use some advice on how to stay healthy at school, handle dating and relationships, or talk to your friends and classmates about your disability. Maybe you want to talk to someone who’s already dealt with these issues. That’s where we come in. Navigating College
is an introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and we’re giving you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college. We wish we could sit down and have a chat with each of you, to share our experiences and answer your questions. But since we can’t teleport, and some of us have trouble meeting new people, this book is the next best thing.”
Ashby, C. E., & Causton-Theoharis, J. (2012). “Moving quietly through the door of opportunity”: Perspectives of college students who type to communicate. Equity & Excellence in Education, 45
Colleges and universities across the United States are becoming increasingly diverse. That increased diversity includes students who do not use speech as their primary means of expression. This qualitative study focuses on the experiences and challenges of higher education for individuals with autism who type to communicate using a method known as facilitated communication. This article focuses on the perspectives of these individuals as they make sense of their inclusion in and, at times, exclusion from higher education, particularly their academic and social access. In addition, the findings of this research indicate that while there are structural and classroom supports that are helpful for individuals who type to communicate, their participation and meaningful inclusion is also incumbent on attitudinal factors and how receptive faculty and staff are to the students’ method of communication. While there is still much work to be done in the area of higher education for individuals with more complex needs, this study highlights the promise of higher education for this new population of students.
Beardon, L., Martin, N., & Woolsey, I. (2009, October). What do students with Asperger syndrome or highfunctioning autism want at college and university? (in their own words). Good Autism Practice (GAP), 10
Historically, there have been very few mid- or large-scale emancipatory studies in the United Kingdom (or elsewhere) which place the views of individuals with Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism (AS/HFA) centre stage. Consequently, knowledge of best practice in further and higher education for learners with AS/HFA, which is directly informed by the student voice, remains limited. This study by staff at Sheffield Hallam University, explored the perceptions of 238 adults with AS/HFA about challenges and support at college and university. Difficulties relating to social interaction, the social environment, other people's understanding of AS/HFA, and course structure and curriculum requirements were cited most frequently. Good practice suggestions are made arising from data providing evidence on which to base provision.
Bowen, K., & Foss, C. (2008, Fall). Autism: The lived experience. In A. Vidali, M. Price, & C. Lewiecki-Wilson (Eds.), Disability Studies in the Undergraduate Classroom, Pt. 5: Writing Autism in the College Curriculum [Special Topic]. Disability Studies Quarterly, 28
(4). Retrieved from: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/148/148
“In Spring 2008 I taught a first-year seminar on Representations of Autism in Contemporary Literature and Film. The course engaged issues surrounding autism, and by extension, various disability issues such as autonomy, civil rights, difference, dignity, discrimination, education, family, health care, and the like. From day one, Kerry Bowen distinguished herself as an excellent writer and an indispensable contributor to our weekly meetings. Her short essay below was completed while Kerry was still a first-year student, and this is her response to the second assignment in the course, which invited a critical engagement with our readings and a detailed argumentative analysis of someone else's account of the lived experience of disability. This assignment grew from a unit on nonfiction narratives about autism, which included Temple Grandin's 1986 Emergence: Labeled Autistic
, Barbara LaSalle's 2003 Finding Ben: A Mother's Journey through the Maze of Asperger's
, John Elder Robison's 2007 Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's
, and Jenny McCarthy's 2007 Louder than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism
In response to the assignment, all but three students focused on autism, and there was a wide range of approaches. They included a personal essay relating a sibling's lived experience with autism and four arguments about the lived experience of autism in terms of one particular treatment option (the Defeat Autism Now!, or DAN!, Protocol), of the educational system, of the financial cost for families, and of the need for equal rights on a global scale. The rest featured critical arguments about one or more of the readings, though only one essay took the extra step of bringing in a text I had not assigned (Daniel Tammet's Born on a Blue Day
), and this was Kerry's essay. In my own work on autism I privilege texts that represent it as human variation and difference (as opposed to texts that suggest it is a defect to be cured), but I had taken pains to present the two scripts as objectively as possible during class. As such, Kerry's essay is the result of her own decision to pursue a thesis that insisted upon respect for autism as human variation and difference.”
Brown, K. R. (2012). Institutional practices that support students with autism spectrum disorders in a postsecondary educational setting.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Higher Education Administration, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH. Retrieved from: http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Brown%20Kirsten%20Ruth.pdf?bgsu1332120965
11% of college students have a disability (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, Knokey, & Shaver, 2010). Existing research indicates that students with disabilities have difficulty with retention and graduation (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2009). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a type of disability that has increased among students in secondary education (Rice, 2009), yet the prevalence of students with ASD in postsecondary education is just starting to be documented. Information about programs, services, and reasonable accommodations in higher education that support students with ASD remains incomplete.
This study applied a mixed-methods approach to a randomly selected national sample of postsecondary institutions to provide insight into effective interventions that support students with ASD. This study used a web-based survey and yielded a 41.9% return rate. Findings indicate that a “base level” of support exists at the vast majority of institutions. Additionally, 28.3% of institutions offered ASD specific services free-of-charge; whereas 2.2% provided ASD specific services for an additional fee. This research revealed significant differences in the number of students with ASD by institution type; however, there were no significant differences in the provision of ASD specific programs. Fifty-five to sixty percent of institutions used workshops, in-services, or online information to educate faculty regarding ASD specific issues. Logistical regression models indicated that existing programs are the strongest predictors of whether or not an institution offers ASD specific services and educates faculty regarding ASD issues. Successful interventions that support students with ASD educate community members (e.g., residence life staff), target ASD specific issues (e.g., transition), and address the institutional culture (e.g., diversity on campus).
Successful interventions also have a proactive purpose and honor the value criterion of equity. Pitfalls to avoid when designing interventions include “one-size-fits-all” programs. Practitioners must carefully consider cost, feasibility, and political support for neurodiversity. Institutions without ASD specific programs support students by using existing reasonable accommodations or general services.
Implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are discussed. Notably, future research should consider exploring the effectiveness of transition programs to support students with ASD.
Camarena, P. M., & Sarigiani, P.A. (2009). Postsecondary educational aspirations of high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and their parents. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24
Individual interviews with 21 high-functioning adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and their parents were used to assess postsecondary educational aspirations and thoughts concerning obstacles and resources that shape educational achievement of this group. The results from these semistructured interviews revealed that both the adolescents and their parents have clear postsecondary educational goals but have significant concerns about the readiness of postsecondary institutions to meet the adolescents' needs. The special significance of social challenges and the ways that families frame educational aspirations are noted. Results from this analysis have direct application to both educational and family settings.
Connor, D. J. (in press). Kiss my Asperger’s: Turning the tables of knowledge. International Journal of Inclusive Education.
Since the early 1990s Asperger’s syndrome (AS) has steadily gained media attention and public recognition to the point of being described as a cultural obsession. Using multi-method inquiry this paper: (1) challenges prevailing medicalised discourses of AS by including a satire of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) [1994. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing] and a critique of advertisements created about AS and other related disabilities; (2) offers alternative interpretations within social, cultural, historical, and personal contexts; (3) foregrounds the experience and understanding of AS from individuals with AS; (4) contemplates the need for schools and colleges to become more receptive to neurodiversity, and to support students with AS. The author calls attention to the ongoing problematics of defining AS and illustrates how disability studies in education helps reframe AS in diverse ways, valuing the ontological and epistemological differences between ‘official’ representations and individuals with the AS label.
Chown, N. & Beavan, N. (in press). Intellectually capable but socially excluded? A review of the literature and research on students with autism in further education. Journal of Further and Higher Education.
As autism is a social learning disability it is a disadvantage in any social setting such as a classroom. The 1990s saw a surge of young people diagnosed with autism who are now approaching college age; indeed there is evidence that students with autism are becoming a significant cohort in further education. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that such students are often the subject of substantial barriers due to a general lack of awareness and understanding of autism, and its educational implications. We report here the results of our review – for the Dudley College – of literature and research relating to autism in further education. After setting the scene, we highlight key research findings and guidance from the literature on how to break down barriers.
Fleischer, A. S. (2012). Alienation and struggle: Everyday student-life of three male students with Asperger Syndrome. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 14
This article analyses how three students with Asperger Syndrome (AS) involved in higher education, in Sweden, perceive their everyday life as a student. The aim of the study was to describe the kind of support offered within a freedom of choice system to determine whether the support given by the university acts as a facilitator or as a barrier. The approach is a case study methodology. Nine interviews, three for each student, are analysed as narratives, based on units of meaning and categories. Two main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) The feeling of Alienation is characterized by the students' perceptions of being outsiders and having to deal with everyday student-life issues instead of engaging in their studies; (2) Struggle - the paradox of handling the feelings of belonging to a community and gaining confidence in being 'odd', but acknowledged. Conclusion: freedom of choice demanding logical reasoning can become a burden for students with AS and support given by the universities is sometimes perceived more as a barrier than as a facilitator.
Fleischer, A. S. (2012, March). Support to students with Asperger syndrome in higher education: The perspectives of three relatives and three coordinators. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 35
An increasing number of students with disabilities attend institutes of higher education (HE). Among this group are persons with Asperger syndrome (AS). Persons with AS have a cognitive impairment that can interfere with their studies and the ability to describe their needs and ask for support. This study deals with an assessment of the support services for students with AS from the perspectives of the students' relatives and the students' service providers at the universities they attend. The aim of this study was to investigate (a) earlier experiences and events in relation to the transition of students with AS to higher education, according to the relatives' perceptions of how these experiences and events affect university studies; and (b) the perceptions of both the relatives of students with AS and the coordinators for students with disabilities with respect to the study environment and support for students with AS. The approach is a case study methodology involving relatives and university coordinators for three students with AS. The coordinators' way of working with students with disabilities is primarily based on the coordinators' own ideas. No specific organizational routines exist for students with AS. The results reveal that the needs of students with AS have to be made explicit and must be incorporated into the support system. Relatives lack information about the situation and opportunities to engage in collaboration. Universities must adapt the support system to the cognitive impairments experienced by AS students and the difficulties of their everyday lives. The relatives of students with AS may play the central role in supporting the students and in understanding their impairment.
Glennon, T. J. (2001). The stress of the university experience for students with Asperger syndrome. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, 17
College students, with or without disabilities, are faced with numerous stressful situations within the university environment. For an individual diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, success at this level requires non-traditional supports. With limited knowledge of this disorder, the university staff are faced with a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to outline an appropriate plan. While providing traditional academic assistance is now commonplace, federal laws mandate that universities widen the scope of support so as not to exclude any student from campus activities or programs. In an effort to provide a framework for support, this article interfaces diagnostic information with the realities of college life. Areas of focus include the transition process, social rules, engagement in academic activities, and mastering a new life of independence. It is hoped that the presented suggestions might prove helpful as universities begin to establish service support teams and outline plans of support.
Hart, D., Grigal, M., & Weir, C. (2010). Expanding the paradigm: Postsecondary education options for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25
This article will provide an overview of postsecondary education (PSE) options for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Intellectual Disabilities (ID). Topics include a historical and philosophical discussion outlining how students with ASD and ID can benefit from postsecondary opportunities, a description of current PSE options, and models of implementation. In conclusion, implications and recommendations for future research, training and technical assistance are provided.
Hendricks, D. R., & Wehman, P. (2009, June).Transition from school to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24
The transition from school services to adulthood can be particularly difficult for many adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Although some individuals with ASD are able to successfully transition, most are faced with significant obstacles in multiple areas as they attempt to negotiate their way into college, work, community participation, and independent living. This article contains a review of research related to the transition from school to adulthood for youth with ASD in the areas of education, employment, community living, and community integration. These key areas of the transition process are crucial for success in adulthood. A summary of principal conclusions drawn from the current literature and suggestions for future research are provided.
Jamieson, C. (2004). Managing Asperger syndrome at college and university: A resource for students, tutors and support services. New York: David Fulton Publishers/Routledge.
Meeting the demands of student life can be tough, especially for students with Asperger Syndrome. This book is full of practical suggestions on how to make the post-16 educational experience a good one. Advice is based upon sound knowledge of theory and practice and includes:
- taking steps towards selecting the right course at the right institution
- coping strategies to use in academic and social situations
- advice to help students who are living away from home
- a CD containing time-saving resources
- how other students, tutors and disability services can help
- useful references and addresses showing where to go next.
This is an important text for students with Asperger Syndrome, their support staff and personal tutors in institutes of Higher Education, student counsellors, parents and Connexions advisors.
Jenner, S. (2010, October). The application process and provision for students with Asperger syndrome at UK universities: Suggestions for parents, carers and students as to how to get started and what to ask. Good Autism Practice (GAP), 11
Sue Jenner is the mother of a 19 year old student with Asperger syndrome. She also works as a Learning Support Teacher. Her son has successfully made the transition from school to university and has completed his first year studying History and International Relations. There are many factors to consider when choosing a university and in discussing the support required. In this paper, Sue highlights many of the areas which need to be considered and provides very valuable information on how to find out what can be provided. Given that many young people on the autism spectrum are academically able to attend university, it is essential that detailed plans are made and appropriate support put in place and articles such as this help all concerned to ensure this happens.
Jurecic, A. (2007, May). Neurodiversity. College English, 69
Autism is a neurobiological disorder that often becomes evident in very early childhood, and is characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, and also by fixed and repetitive behavior. Moreover, people with Asperger's Syndrome are on the less severe end of the autism spectrum, who possess average to above-average cognitive and verbal abilities, while also exhibiting impaired social abilities and the fixed patterns of interest typical of autism. Considering the definitions, a growing and vocal set of autistic activists, under the banner of "neurodiversity", are demanding that autism be accepted and respected not as a disorder, but as a variation in "brain wiring". With the increase in recognition that began in 1987, early educational intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders expanded. Because of the efforts of researchers, educators, and parents, more such children receive early training designed to facilitate the development of language and social skills, and this has enabled a greater proportion to function in regular classrooms. Here, Jurecic highlights her college teaching experience with an autistic student named Gregory, and discusses the corresponding need for effective education for autistic students. She emphasizes that the presence of students like Gregory in college classes will surely compel educators and researchers to develop new theories, practices, and policies, as it also simultaneously requires the revision of the current conception of difference.
Krell, M., & Pérusse, R. (2012, October). Providing college readiness counseling for students with autism spectrum disorders: A Delphi study to guide school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 16
This study used the Delphi method to examine school counselors' roles for providing equitable college readiness counseling for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Participants included an expert panel of 19 individuals with experience and knowledge in postsecondary transition for students with ASD. Expert participants identified 29 tasks of school counselors for providing equitable college readiness counseling to students with ASD, such as encourage student involvement in the transition planning process, collaborate with parents, and conduct workshops for students with ASD and their parents about college transition. This article provides practical implications and recommendations based on the study results.
Lane, J., & Kelly, R. (2012) Autism and Asperger’s syndrome in the law student: Making accommodations in academic assessments.
Paper presented at 47th Annual Conference (Re)assessing Legal Education, 1st April - 3rd April 2012, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, UK. Retrieved from: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/13546/
“Students with ASD and Asperger’s Syndrome will form an ever-increasing sector of the student cohort, both in Further and Higher Education, and it is important that we, as academics, take a proactive stance and fully embrace our legal and moral duties towards fully supporting these students. There are a number of adjustments that can be made, and most of them will result in improvements to the learning experience of the entire student cohort” (p. 14).
Lewiecki-Wilson, C., Dolmage, J., Heilker, P., & Jurecic, A. (2008, January). Comment & response: Two comments on "Neurodiversity." College English, 70
Lewiecki-Wilson et al. comment on an article by Ann Jurecic regarding neurodiversity, which covers autism and the teaching of writing. Although there was much to be agreed about in the article, they say that Jurecic remains rooted in a normate stance--from invoking a single monolithic form of the academic essay to assuming the central position that enables one to diagnose others and make judgments about them. In her response, Jurecic says that if cognitive analysis of autism are handled with sensitivity and intelligence, and if one keeps in mind the history of educational exclusion and the insights of disability studies, they can be used instead to inform effective instruction of students who would otherwise struggle to learn in college classrooms.
MacLeod, A., & Green, S. (2009). Beyond the books: Case study of a collaborative and holistic support model for university students with Asperger syndrome. Studies in Higher Education, 34
This article reflects on the experience of one UK higher education institution in its efforts to develop more effective support mechanisms for the growing numbers of students with Asperger syndrome and autism, in collaboration with a specialist support organisation. Case studies are used to illustrate the complex needs of this group of students. The authors found that this collaborative model was useful in enabling a very stretched student support service to offer an individualised and holistic model of support, in keeping with the needs associated with Asperger syndrome and autism. It is proposed that the model described here, although not without its own limitations, follows the best practice guidance laid down by the UK Disability Discrimination Act, and could be beneficial to students with other disabilities. Of particular note is the need for student support services to view pastoral, non-academic support as being central to the support that they offer.
Madriaga. M. (2010). 'I avoid pubs and the student union like the plague': Students with Asperger Syndrome and their negotiation of university spaces. Children’s Geographies, 8
Research was conducted to gain insight into the lives of students with Asperger Syndrome (AS) during their transitions into higher education. Eight students were recruited from across the United Kingdom to partake in a year-long longitudinal study that incorporated life-history interviews. In their responses, the majority of interviewees identified spaces within their universities as being inaccessible. They found obstacles locating themselves in spaces where other students generally tend to congregate (e.g. student unions, pubs, libraries) due to their sensory impairments. As a result, a number of respondents experienced difficulty engaging socially in university life. This paper explores how students with AS and hypersensitivities negotiated these barriers. While some experienced a sense of ease, others were not as successful. This difference in experience, as argued here, reflects the diversity of individuals who have AS. Reflecting upon this diversity, it is hoped this paper will contribute to raising the profile of young adults with AS and wider questions about disabled student support provision in higher education.
Madriaga, M., & Goodley, D. (2010). Moving beyond the minimum: Socially just pedagogies and Asperger's syndrome in UK higher education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14
A year-long longitudinal study was conducted to gain insight into the lives of eight students who had a label of Asperger's syndrome during their transitions into higher education in the UK. Reflecting on life history data, the findings suggest that universities might actually be maintaining and (re)producing barriers that perpetuate the exclusion and ghettoisation of disabled people. The analysis goes beyond an acknowledgement of institutional disabling practices to pinpoint the subtle impacts of issues of pedagogy, learning, teaching, and assessment. It is argued, therefore, that inclusive education needs to engage more directly with the specific issues faced by learners with the label of Asperger's syndrome. However, rather than viewing this as an issue of special education for distinctly impaired learners, Asperger's syndrome must be understood with reference to wider questions of how higher educators respond to diversity and difference.
Mallett, R., & Runswick-Cole, K. (2012). Commodifying autism: The cultural contexts of ‘disability’ in the academy. In D. Goodley, B. Hughes, & L. Davis (Eds.), Disability and social theory: New developments and directions
(pp. 33-51). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
“In this chapter we are interested in approaching autism critically. We seek to understand the cultural contexts of this academic presence and think through its implications. By positioning academia as part of contemporary consumer culture, we borrow from Marxist-inspired theories to conceptualise the processes by which ‘seemingly the most enigmatic of conditions’…has become produced, traded and consumed within the social sciences” (p. 33).
Miller, E. (2004, July). Autism: Challenges relating to secondary transition.
Alexandria, VA: Project Forum at NASDSE. Retrieved from: http://www.projectforum.org/docs/autism_secondary_transition.pdf
“The purpose of this document is to describe the efforts of several state education agencies (SEAs) to address the needs of transition-aged students with autism, describe the major barriers to providing effective secondary transition services to this population and generate policy recommendations” (p. 1).
Morris, C. (2011). The Aspect project: Working together to enhance the learning experiences of students with Asperger syndrome at the University of Brighton. In G. Wisker, L. Marshall, N. Edmond, & S. Greener (Eds.), Partnerships: Articles from the Learning and Teaching Conference 2010
(pp. 34-38). East Sussex, UK: University of Brighton Press. Retrieved from: http://www.brighton.ac.uk/snm/mentorship/RippleEffectPartnerships.pdf#page=34
The Aspect project built on ongoing partnership between the Centre for Learning and Teaching and Disability and Dyslexia team. Responding to increasing numbers of students with Asperger syndrome (AS) presenting to Student Services, and in line with the requirement to anticipate disabled students’ needs, it sought to identify ways to enhance their learning experiences. Previous research indicates that people who have AS face significant barriers and a lack of awareness. The team therefore worked to heighten awareness across the university through consultation, staff development and research. People with AS, and experience of higher education, participated in interviews, identifying barriers they have faced and making recommendations. The research found that a combination of inclusive teaching, specialist support and ongoing awareness raising in staff and student populations is an ideal way forward to ensure the best possible learning experience for this group of students.
Nevill, R. E. A., & White, S. W. (2011). College students’ openness toward autism spectrum disorders: Improving peer acceptance. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41
One probable consequence of rising rates of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in individuals without co-occurring intellectual disability is that more young adults with diagnoses or traits of ASD will attend college and require appropriate supports. This study sought to explore college students’ openness to peers who demonstrate ASD-characteristic behaviors. Results showed a significant difference in openness between students who had a first-degree relative with an ASD (n = 18) and a gender-matched comparison group of students without such experience (F = 4.85, p = .035). Engineering and physical science majors did not demonstrate more overall openness. Universities should make efforts to prevent social isolation of students with ASD, such as programs to educate students about ASD and supports to ease college transition.
Pillay, Y., & Suniti Bhat, C. (2012). Facilitating support for students with Asperger's syndrome. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 26
The number of students with Asperger's Syndrome enrolled at tertiary institutions in the United States continues to increase. This can be attributed to: (a) the passage of legislations such as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA); (b) revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM); and (c) early intervention and treatment. Although the increase may be an indicator that a climate of inclusion for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome has been created, many institutions are not adequately prepared to accommodate these students. In order to serve students with Asperger's Syndrome effectively, collaboration between several university entities is necessary. The authors highlight the pivotal role that college counselors can play in providing direct support to students with Asperger's Syndrome and in facilitating and coordinating inputs from other sectors of the college environment such as disability services, faculty members, and residence-life staff.
Prince-Hughes, D. (2002). Aquamarine blue 5: Personal stories of college students with autism.
Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.
Edited by a professor of anthropology, this book features stories by college students diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s. Their voices describe positive aspects of autism, as well as some challenges of a college environment, while also illustrating the diversity of students behind any single disability label or diagnosis.
Roberts, K .D. (2010). Topic areas to consider when planning transition from high school to postsecondary education for students with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25
For many individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attending and completing postsecondary education is a viable option. However, success in postsecondary education for these individuals may require more planning and ongoing support than students without an ASD. This article provides educators and transition support personnel with a range of topics to consider when working with students with ASD and their families to develop a comprehensive transition plan. These topic areas include career exploration, academic goal setting and preparation, assessing and knowing learning styles, self-advocacy skills, reasonable accommodations, academic supports, interagency collaboration, technology, and time management skills.
Robertson, S. M., & Ne’eman, A. D. (2008, Fall). Autistic acceptance, the college campus, and technology: Growth of neurodiversity in society and academia. In A. Vidali, M. Price, & C. Lewiecki-Wilson (Eds.), Disability Studies in the Undergraduate Classroom, Pt. 5: Writing Autism in the College Curriculum [Special Topic]. Disability Studies Quarterly, 28
(4). Retrieved from: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/146/146
This paper presents an in-depth examination of autistic acceptance on college campuses from the perspective of two academic scholars who are both autistic. This inquiry first describes the history of the emergence and growth of the neurological diversity and autistic rights movements. These movements led to the development of a unified autistic disability culture and community. Then the paper shares how autistic acceptance on college campuses has received increasing attention in parallel with expanded focus on autistic acceptance in society. It highlights major challenges impacting autistic people attending colleges and universities, as well as potential solutions for resolving those challenges and cultivating understanding and support of autistic people among the broader culture of colleges and universities.
This paper examines the emergence of autistic acceptance in society and the growth of support for autistic people on the college campus. It is written from the authors' perspectives as autistic persons who pursued college studies, and both authors are active scholars and advocates in the cross-disability community.
Seidel, K. (2005, September 29). Autopsy of a violent diagnosis: Deconstructing Mikita Brottman’s “Nutty Professors.” Neurodiversity.com
[Website]. Retrieved from: http://www.neurodiversity.com/autopsy_of_a_violent_diagnosis.pdf
This is an in-depth examination of the article “Nutty Professors” by Mikita Brottman, published in September 2005 in The Chronicle of Higher Education
). The Chronicle
article is about professors with alleged Asperger’s syndrome that reaffirms the stereotypical notions of the “nutty” or “absent-minded” professor. Seidel, as a mother of a child with Asperger’s, responds with an in-depth analysis that draws out the inferences of this article and how it can be seen as inflammatory and damaging to those on the autistic spectrum, especially those who may be entering higher education.
Shattuck, P. T., Carter Narendorf, S., Cooper, B., Sterzing, P. R., Wagner, M., & Lounds Taylor, J. (2012). Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 129
, 1042–1049. OBJECTIVES:
We examined the prevalence and correlates of postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). METHODS:
Data were from a nationally representative survey of parents, guardians, and young adults with an ASD. Participation in postsecondary employment, college, or vocational education and lack of participation in any of these activities were examined. Rates were compared with those of youth in 3 other eligibility categories: speech/language impairment, learning disability, and mental retardation. Logistic regression was used to examine correlates of each outcome. RESULTS:
For youth with an ASD, 34.7% had attended college and 55.1% had held paid employment during the first 6 years after high school. More than 50% of youth who had left high school in the past 2 years had no participation in employment or education. Youth with an ASD had the lowest rates of participation in employment and the highest rates of no participation compared with youth in other disability categories. Higher income and higher functional ability were associated with higher adjusted odds of participation in postsecondary employment and education. CONCLUSIONS:
Youth with an ASD have poor postsecondary employment and education outcomes, especially in the first 2 years after high school. Those from lower-income families and those with greater functional impairments are at heightened risk for poor outcomes. Further research is needed to understand how transition planning before high school exit can facilitate a better connection to productive postsecondary activities.
Smith, C. P. (2007, September). Support services for students with Asperger's syndrome in higher education. College Student Journal, 41
The study examines the following research question: What are the needs of students with Asperger's Syndrome (AS), and what are the services and accommodations available to them at the post-secondary level? An increasing number of individuals diagnosed with AS are entering institutions of higher education. This study is exploratory in nature, hoping to discover in what ways institutions can better accommodate and serve this population. The research project uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyze data. A random sample of postsecondary institutions that are members of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) were surveyed. The study is designed to assist Disability Support offices in expanding their knowledge and services for those students with AS.
Stodden, R. A., & Mruzek, D. W. (2010). An introduction to postsecondary education and employment of persons with autism and developmental disabilities. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25
"This special issue includes six peer-reviewed articles intended to provide readers with a clear picture of the current status of efforts to prepare and transition youth with ASD and ID to postsecondary education settings. The articles have been organized to provide readers with an overview of this field of work, present a range of approaches and models currently being used by persons in the field, and share current status data on the types of programs underway and their impact upon the quality of postschool life for young persons with ASD and ID. The guest editors have reviewed and selected articles that present a range of perspectives on this topic, as well as articles providing a range of quantitative and qualitative data, and information for readers" (p. 132).
Taylor, M. J. (2005). Teaching students with autistic spectrum disorders in HE. Education + Training, 47
(7), 484-495. DOI 10.1108/00400910510626330. Purpose
– The purpose of the research reported in this paper was to examine the type of adjustments to delivery appropriate for students with an autistic spectrum disorder in a UK higher education setting. Design/methodology/approach
– A case study in a UK university was conducted over a two-year period. Findings
– A variety of adjustments may be required for students with an autistic spectrum disorder in a UK higher education environment, including adjustments to teaching delivery, assessment and pastoral care. Research limitations/implications
– Although the case study reported in this paper focused on just three students with an autistic spectrum disorder, the number of students entering UK higher education with such disorders is likely to increase and institutions need to be aware of the adjustments that may potentially be required. Originality/value
– Previously very few students with an autistic spectrum disorder had attended university in the UK. However, growing numbers of such students are now attending university, but thus far little, if any, research has been conducted regarding the adjustments that may need to be made for such students.
White, S. W., Ollendick, T. H., & Bray, B. C. (2011, November). College students on the autism spectrum: Prevalence and associated problems. Autism, 15
As more young people are identified with autism spectrum diagnoses without co-occurring intellectual disability (i.e. high-functioning autism spectrum disorder; HFASD), it is imperative that we begin to study the needs of this population. We sought to gain a preliminary estimate of the scope of the problem and to examine psychiatric risks associated HFASD symptoms in university students. In a large sample (n = 667), we examined prevalence of ASD in students at a single university both diagnostically and dimensionally, and surveyed students on other behavioral and psychiatric problems. Dependent upon the ascertainment method, between .7 per cent and 1.9 per cent of college students could meet criteria for HFASD. Of special interest, none of the students who were found to meet diagnostic criteria (n = 5) formally for HFASD in this study had been previously diagnosed. From a dimensional perspective, those students scoring above the clinical threshold for symptoms of autism (n = 13) self-reported more problems with social anxiety than a matched comparison group of students with lower autism severity scores. In addition, symptoms of HFASD were significantly correlated with symptoms of social anxiety, as well as depression and aggression. Findings demonstrate the importance of screening for autism-related impairment among university students.
Wolf, L. E., Thierfeld Brown, J., & Kukiela Bork, G. R. (2009). Students with Asperger syndrome: A guide for college personnel.
Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
For many students with autism spectrum disorders getting admitted to college is the easy part. Surviving and succeeding can be quite another, as these students transition into a system that is often unprepared to receive them. Accommodating students whose disabilities very likely fall in social and self-regulatory areas is a particular challenge for disability services providers who are not used to reaching out into so many areas of student life. Based on the authors’ extensive experience, this comprehensive book offers disability services professionals practical strategies for accommodating and supporting students in all phases of college life and beyond. Major chapters address legal issues and academic accommodations; co-curricular needs and accommodations; housing and resident life; faculty issues; other partners on campus such as business and academic affairs, campus police and public safety; employment issues; working with parents, and more. Checklists, forms and other tools help guide and structure the combined efforts to help students succeed.
Zagar, D., & Alpern, C.S. (2010). College-based inclusion programming for transition-age students with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25
Considerations for college-based programming for transition-age students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are addressed in this article, with particular attention to social communication supports necessary to facilitate student success. An overview of current literature related to college-based programming and support for students with ASD in the area of social communication is presented, along with a preliminary survey of the perceptions of youth regarding their social communication competency. The need for support in this area is highlighted based on student evaluations of their ability and needs as well as on information gathered through an examination of current literature. Recommendations are offered for enhancing development of social communication skills for students with ASD in college-based programs.