The Needs of College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Aspergers SyndromeReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, v28 n1 p89-101 Spr 2015

Many colleges and universities have seen increases in students identified as having autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or Asperger's syndrome (AS). The purpose of this study was to analyze the needs of college students with autism spectrum disorders. The study implemented a naturalistic inquiry design incorporating three data collection formats. A total of 24 students from five universities were asked about their primary social needs and how those needs were met in college. Data were analyzed in a two-step process to examine the emergence of both a main category set as well as subcategories. Data analysis revealed the emergence of a main category entitled Needs Related to College as well as four subcategories--Social Needs, Academic Needs, Daily Living Needs, and How Those Needs Are Met. Implications for higher education services and programming for students with ASD are discussed as are suggestions for future research.

Descriptors: Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, College Students, Student Needs, Inquiry, Social Influences, Student Personnel Services, Academic Support Services, Accessibility (for Disabled), Questionnaires, Focus Groups, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Teaching Methods, Educational Environment, Family Role, School Role, Social Networks, Asperger Syndrome

Association on Higher Education and Disability. 107 Commerce Center Drive Suite 204, Huntersville, NC 28078. Tel: 704-947-7779; Fax: 704-948-7779; e-mail: ahead[at]; Web site:

Author: Cullen, Jennifer A.


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