Paper Summary

Direct link:

Autistic Undergraduate Students' Experiences and Intentions to Persist in College

Fri, April 9, 4:10 to 5:40pm EDT (4:10 to 5:40pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Special and Inclusive Education Research Paper and Symposium Sessions


This study qualitatively examines first-hand college experiences of autistic undergraduate students and factors influencing them to remain in college. Semi-structured online interviews were conducted with 27 autistic undergraduate students (Mean age = 21.81 years; 40.7% male), and their responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Students discussed their perspectives about revealing their autism diagnosis, the value of the social community or lack thereof, the process of getting accommodations from professors, and autism acceptance on campus. Students’ persistence in college were influenced by their desire to learn, practical utility of a college degree, symbolic value of a degree, and family value that highlights the importance of education. These findings suggest practical implications for providing better support to autistic undergraduate students.