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

Hewitt, Lynne E.

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e318227fd19
Original Articles

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.

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

Corresponding Author: Lynne Hewitt, 200 Health Center Building, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403 (e-mail:

Many thanks to my collaborators in establishing the ASD Support Program at BGSU, Dr Mary Murray, Intervention Service, and Dr Robert Cunningham, Disability Services. Their support and energy were invaluable in launching this venture.

The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins