Torres, E. S. (2014). Students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): The first-year postsecondary educational experience (Publication No. 3609029) [Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1497034008
The George Washington University (Washington, DC); ProQuest document ID: 1497034008
Accommodations discussed by participants in this qualitative study of the experiences of postsecondary students with autism spectrum disorder included various academic and social supports; this summary emphasizes the academic examination accommodations, including extended time and separate low distraction setting.
Four postsecondary students with autism spectrum disorders were interviewed. These students attended a private, four-year postsecondary institution in the mid-Atlantic region (U.S.). Additional demographic information, such as age and gender, was reported in the case studies. Data were also gathered from the students' parents and their disability services provider.
No explicit dependent variables were managed in this qualitative case study analysis; instead, interviews with a series of questions and follow-up probes were used to gather data from case study participants as well as their parents and their disability services provider. Academic records such as high school IEPs and university accommodations letters were made available by student participants for purposes of data triangulation and validation.
The findings of the case studies yielded various details about the transition process from secondary to postsecondary education. Participants indicated the importance of academic and social supports, including the beneficial impact of accommodations provided during examinations, primarily extended time and separate low distraction setting. The researcher provided sets of findings from each participant, framed as advice to faculty, to students, and to society, which incorporated socially- and academically-oriented comments. Pertaining to accommodations, participants noted those that were helpful, and also the difficulties and importance of communication with faculty members regarding their challenges. The researcher also analyzed data across cases, and although several themes emerged, her examination of academic stress was most pertinent and informative regarding accommodations. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.