Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating an Inclusive Collegiate Learning Environment for Students on the Autism Spectrum: A Participatory Action Research Study
by Maxam, Susan L., Ed.D., Union Institute and University, 2012, 189; 3535981
Abstract (Summary)

Despite the growing number of students on the autism spectrum in postsecondary institutions around the nation, there is a paucity of literature dealing with issues and interventions related to creating inclusive, collegiate learning environments from the perspectives of both faculty and these students. Therefore, this study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the unique needs and challenges of students on the autism spectrum at a private postsecondary institution as well as those of the faculty teaching them so that together, they would propose a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at creating a more inclusive learning environment.

To answer these questions, a participatory action research (PAR) study was conducted which primarily involved group dialogue and participant observation. Purposive sampling strategies were employed and included full-time and adjunct faculty teaching at the institution as well as students on the spectrum attending the institution. The two faculty and student groups met separately throughout the semester with information from each group being shared with the other, allowing them to build off of each others' ideas. This allowed for a variety of perspectives and ideas to be explored and with minimal (if any) discomfort on the parts of the student or faculty participants. At the end of the study, the participants prepared a summary of their joint needs, challenges and recommendations.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, participatory action research, faculty development, self-determination, social model of disability, Universal Design for Learning, empowerment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Henderson, James
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Special education, Higher education
Keywords: Autism spctrum disorders, Faculty development, Inclusive learning
Publication Number: 3535981
ISBN: 9781267903280
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