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Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Literature on College Students with ASD

Nicholas W. Gelbar, Isaac Smith, Brian Reichow have an article in The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders titled "Systematic Review of Articles Describing Experience and Supports of Individuals with Autism Enrolled in College and University Programs"

The increase in the number of higher-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is likely to lead to an increased interest in postsecondary opportunities including degree-granting college and university programs. To provide an understanding of the current evidence-base for supporting individuals with ASD in higher education, this article reports the results of a systematic review of the literature concerning college students with ASD. Overall, 20 articles describing 69 individuals met the inclusion criteria. This small number of articles and participants indicates the scarcity of research on this topic and only two of these studies were experimental in nature. These studies described a video-self modeling intervention and a counseling intervention respectively. Eighteen “case studies” were also present in the literature that described difficulties ranging from anxiety to housing concerns. This review deliniates the limitation of our understanding of effective college programming for individuals with ASD.
From the article:
Currently, the K-12 system assumes given the academic achievement of higher-functioning individuals with ASD  that they will be successful in postsecondary environments; an assumption that is contraindicated by the literature on their post-school outcomes (Billstedt et al. 2005; Henninger and Taylor 2013). This assumption is also contradicted by the results of this literature review; the majority of the articles included indications of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Obviously, further research is needed to explore the prevalence rates of these concerns in college students with ASD, but other research has indicated that adolescents with ASD also have reported these issues (Berthoz et al. 2013; Skokauskas and Gallagher 2010; Strang et al. 2012). Beyond the social and emotional difficulties faced by these students, it is also important to understand the areas in which they report that they are academically prepared and the areas academically in which they struggle. 

  • Berthoz, S., Lalanne, C., Crane, L., & Hill, E. L. (2013). Investigatingemotional impairments in adults with autism spectrum disordersand the broader autism phenotype. Psychiatry Research, 208,257–264.

  • Billstedt, E., Gillberg, C., & Gillberg, C. (2005). Autism afteradolescence: Population-based 13- to 22-year follow-up study of120 individuals with autism diagnosed in childhood. Journal ofAutism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 351–360.

  • Henninger, N. A., & Taylor, J. L. (2013). Outcomes in adults withautism spectrum disorders: A historical perspective. Autism, 17,103–116.

  • Skokauskas, N., & Gallagher, L. (2010). Psychosis, affectivedisorders, and anxiety in autistic spectrum disorder: Prevalenceand nosological considerations. Psychopathology, 43(1), 8–16.
  • Strang, J. F., Kenworthy, L., Daniolos, P., Case, L., Willis, M. C.,Martin, A., et al. (2012). Depression and anxiety symptoms inchildren and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders withoutintellectual disability. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders,6, 406–412.