Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Department name when degree awarded

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Jared Schultz


Jared Schultz


Kathleen Oertle


Tim Riesen


Trent Landon


Keith Christensen


Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are enrolling in colleges and universities at an increasing rate. Although there is greater attendance in PSE settings, the graduation rate of this population is below the standard average. Improved services to help these students achieve their college and university goals are needed. Disability service professionals provide services to these students, yet oftentimes are not prepared to do so. In an effort to take a step toward addressing this concern, the current study began the exploratory process of identifying whether services provided by campus disability resources centers (DRC) align with the best practices that enhance the success of students with ASD.

The current study began by asking an expert panel consisting of disability service professionals to develop and agreed upon a list of (a) barriers in providing academic accommodation (b) individual and systemic barriers faced by the student, and (c) supports that can help reduce these barriers. The final instrument identified 34 barriers to providing academic accommodation, 47 systemic barriers, and 37 individual barriers students with ASD experience in PSE settings. Additionally, DRC counselors identified 45 supports and services that would help address the identified barriers. Results of the study were discussed in the context of the literature related to identifiable barriers that prevent success in PSE settings as well as supports and services that can best benefit student with ASD. Additionally, implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research were discussed.