Tara J. Glennon; Survey of College Personnel: Preparedness to Serve Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(2):7002260010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017921
Download citation file:
© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. This study explored the perceptions, preparedness, and practices of college personnel regarding support for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
METHOD. Members of the Association on Higher Education and Disability were invited to complete an online survey in 2012. The survey gathered data on training level, understanding of student needs, and supports provided to students with ASD in the areas of academic transitional situations, social activities, sensory needs, attention and organization, self-advocacy and self-disclosure, and emotional regulation.
RESULTS. Of the 315 respondents who completed the survey, 94% were involved in designing needed supports for students with ASD. Of those involved in designing needed supports, 55% indicated the need for additional information and 63% indicated that their institution struggled with outlining the supports needed and would have liked to know more about how to support these students.
CONCLUSION. Opportunities exist for occupational therapy collaboration, consultation, case management, and direct intervention to support college students with ASD.
Seventeen items were repeated from a 2001 survey regarding the practices and attitudes of AHEAD members in supporting students with ASD (Glennon, 2001a). These 17 items were originally identified from a pilot study and modified on the basis of feedback from subject matter experts (personal communication, Temple Grandin, Tony Attwood, Peter Gerhardt, Carol Gray, and Brenda Smith Myles, April 2001).
Thirty-nine items reflected activities identified by college students with ASD and their parents as difficult or stressful in a 2009 survey (Glennon & Marks, 2010).
An exhaustive literature review through 2012 identified the types of supports students with ASD require in the college environment. Because of the dearth of evidence-based outcomes reported for such supports at the postsecondary level, suggestions and strategies from subject matter experts were included (e.g., Brown et al., 2012; Wolf, Brown, & Bork, 2009). Additionally, the reviewers cross-referenced the literature documenting evidence-based practices for youths and adolescents with ASD with the literature describing the academic, social, extracurricular, and residential demands for college students.
health care services and devices that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living. Examples include therapy for a child who is not walking or talking at the expected age. These services may include physical and occupational therapy, speech–language pathology and other services for people with disabilities in a variety of inpatient and/or outpatient settings. (p. 10811)
Occupational therapy practitioners in school-based practice need to advocate the distinct value of having occupational therapy on the transition team for students moving on to postsecondary education.
Practitioners participating in transition planning need to survey the academic, social, and activity participation requirements of the college environment to effectively create a transition plan to postsecondary environments.
Practitioners who have expertise in and knowledge about how to support people with ASD must step forward and expand practice to the nontraditional environment of college campuses.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only
For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.