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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The college experience of students with Asperger's Disorder: Perceptions of the students themselves and of college disability service providers who work with these students
by Schlabach, Theresa L., Ph.D., Illinois State University, 2008, 209; 3323938
Abstract (Summary)

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away. Thoreau, 1854

Despite the increase in the numbers of students with Asperger's Disorder (AD) enrolling in higher education, there has been limited empirical research investigating the college experience or the types of services needed to support these students in college (Hurlbutt & Chalmers, 2004). The purpose of this case study research was to explore the college experience through the perceptions of college students with AD and their disability service providers. The college experience included academic and extracurricular activities.

Nineteen interviews with nine participants were used to examine these multifaceted perceptions at three different institutions of higher education in the Midwest: a community college, a private university, and a large, public university. The participants included one administrator responsible for the disability services office, two administrators who also served as disability service providers, a disability service provider, and five students with AD enrolled in college. The disability service providers and students were each interviewed twice.

Two important findings were revealed in this study. The first finding was that students with AD were successful academically in college and perceived college as a positive experience that afforded them an opportunity to study in their area of interest. Academic and extracurricular activities were impacted by social and sensory impairments of the students with AD. The intrinsic motivation of the students with AD was an important factor in their success. The second finding of interest was that the disability service providers recognized the retention risk and were struggling to provide meaningful services for the increasing numbers of students with AD.

Indexing (document details)
School: Illinois State University
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Higher education
Keywords: Asperger syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, Autism, College, Disability service providers, Higher education
Publication Number: 3323938
ISBN: 978-0-549-76177-8
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