Eighteen college college students with ASD participated in an in-depth structured interview process. When asked what academic services they needed more information about, a majority of students indicated they needed assistance with stress management, time management, and strategies for talking with professors. When asked what non-academic services they needed more information on, the majority expressed a need to learn how to make decisions. When asked about their educational support needs, students expressed some of the following needs.
"I am currently working with a counselor at the counseling center on interpersonal skills and making friends."
"We need things explained in more detail and with advance notice. If I get an assignment right at the end of class, I will not do well if I do not get about five minutes worth of explanation and detail. I cannot do a good job if I have to fill in the detail myself."
"With my teachers, I want them to be aware of things most likely to cause problems. These are: the potential for people to react badly to my body language, the noise/light problems I have, the fact that email is a better way to communicate with me than talking and the phone is worse, and memory/organization problems."
"It would be good to have someone to call for advice or provide training on how people with ASD can control or manager their own reactions."
What are staff members from vocational rehabilitation agencies, postsecondary Disability Support Services, and college Career Centers saying about the educational support needs of college students with ASD?
"Emphasis needs to be placed on individual consultation. Career placements are one size fits all and it needs to be more one on one."
"A weakness in our structure is that students may not connect with the Career Center until their senior year."
"How to get instructors to buy into a changing model - it's in the syllabus - may not be the best way to get information to student."
"Some students don't even know that they have autism. We cannot educate enough... College is so overwhelming - need more resources, places to go."