Developing College Skills for Individuals with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Pilot Program
Mentor:Jodie Kocur, Ph.D., California Lutheran University
Currently, there is a growing body of literature regarding the transition to post-secondary education for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The current study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of a new program that was created to assist individuals with (ASD) with skills that have been identified as possibly problematic in a college setting in order to try to increase college self-efficacy and self-determination. The program included 6 sessions which each included an activity that targeted a specific social, communication, or behavioral skill. Six male students participated in this program. Of the six participants, five completed the program. In order to measure the program’s impact on college self-efficacy and self-determination, the College Self Efficacy Scale (CSES) and the ARC Self Determination Scale were given to each participant before and after the completion of the program. In addition, a feedback form created by the researchers was used to assess the participant’s beliefs about how the program impacted their beliefs regarding their ability to succeed in college. A multiple baseline design across subjects was utilized, with each participant beginning the program on a different week. Results indicated an increase in college self-efficacy scores and overall self-determination scores for all five participants. In addition, scores increased on three out of four of the ARC subscales, including the Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving subscale, the Psychological Empowerment subscale, and the Self-Realization subscale. In addition, data from the feedback form indicated that four out of five participants reported an increase in their confidence about going into college after completing the program. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.