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postsecondary education, ASD, autism spectrum disorder, universal design for learning, UDL, student experience, academic accommodations, transitioning into college, self-advocacy, teaching strategies, classroom Behaviour, group work, disability


The number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) entering post-secondary institutions is increasing, but students with ASD are struggling more than their typically developing peers, with high rates of mental health challenges and a lower graduation rate. This study’s purpose is to understand the learning needs/experiences of students who identify as being an individual with, or having a formal diagnosis of ASD, while highlighting perspectives of f aculty members and students from Sheridan College. Our research finds that the learning experiences of students with ASD at Sheridan are impacted by: (a) Environmental stressors, (b) Gaps in transitioning from high school to college, (c) Lack of access to leadership opportunities, (d) Lack of awareness or understanding of available supports, (e) Inadequate quiet spaces to support sensory and emotional needs, (f) Difficulty navigating inconsistent approaches in academic accommodation implementation, (g) Too much onus being placed on students to prove their need for accommodations, and (h) Difficulty navigating multiple platforms in the online learning context. Faculty participants’ responses revealed factors and strategies that have impacted their experiences teaching students with ASD including: (a) Building rapport and cultivating trust to encourage open communication and discussion regarding accommodation needs, (b) Recognizing challenges with group formats and allowing choice in group selection or foregoing mandatory group work, (c) Understanding stressors and strategies to support students’ social, communication and emotional challenges, (d) Collaboration with student affairs and Accessible Learning (AL) to support students with ASD, (e) Applying strategies learned in previous training and community employment to support students with ASD.


Accessible Learning

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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SRCA Project PPT.pptx (817 kB)