Autism in Higher Education
Each year, 50,000 students with autism turn 18. Many are making the difficult transition to college. Disproportionately few are persisting, graduating, or acquiring jobs. We are working to make things better.
Purpose: This project aims to improve experiences and outcomes for college students with autism.
Goals: Project goals focus on student well-being, educational achievement, and institutional responsiveness.
Student Well-being: We want students with autism to feel confident that they have the personal qualities and institutional support necessary to succeed in college.
Educational Achievement: We want to maximize the likelihood that students with autism enter, persist, and graduate from college.
Institutional Responsiveness: We want to educate postsecondary institutions about students with autism so they can be more responsive to these students’ specific needs, appreciate their distinct perspectives, and highlight the unique contributions these students can make to their host institutions, fields of study, and society at large.
Activities: Project activities focus on advocacy, research, and training.
Advocacy: We empower college students with autism by amplifying their voices within the academic community and by providing free access to materials designed to facilitate their successful transition into, through, and out of college.
Research: We use qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the systemic, institutional, and personal conditions that shape college access, experiences, and outcomes for students on the autism spectrum.
Training: We conduct professional development workshops and distribute training materials to college administrators, researchers, students, and instructors.
People and Perspectives: Members of the project team reflect the project’s commitment to an inclusive and interdisciplinary perspective on college students with autism. The team includes undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty researchers from seven fields of study. Several team members have family members with autism, and at least one member has been diagnosed with autism.