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Topics in Language Disorders:
doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e318227fd19
Original Articles

Perspectives on Support Needs of Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Transition to College

Hewitt, Lynne E.

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Abstract

This article outlines some of the factors leading to challenges in succeeding in college environments for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Individuals with the intellectual ability to pursue postsecondary education still need individualized and ongoing supports from their families and others to ensure success. Social challenges may impede integration into college, but other factors related to executive functioning and higher order planning are also critical. Suggestions for program planning, and five principles for designing programs, are provided on the basis of a review of cognitive and psychosocial factors, grounded in the extant literature, and supported by examples drawn from early evaluation of a pilot university-based program for individuals with ASD. The importance of working on higher order skills and independent problem-solving during the latter years of secondary education, prior to attempting the transition to college, is emphasized.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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