A nationwide survey of disability support personnel regarding transition and services for postsecondary students with autism spectrum disorder
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The purpose of this exploratory study was to analyze the perceptions (through survey data) of Disability Support Services (DSS) personnel regarding the transition process for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from secondary to postsecondary institutions. Participants from 408 postsecondary institutions completed the survey with 60.4% from public and 39.5% from private institutions, and 66.8% from 4-year and 33.2% from 2-year institutions. The majority of participants considered ASD to be a lifelong disorder. Only 52.7% of participants accept a diagnosis from a school psychologist, and 73.3% indicated that high school reports range from not useful to somewhat useful in determining eligibility. The majority of participants (66.2%) indicated that reports must be more recent than 3-years old to qualify for services. Furthermore, this study attempted to determine the availability of mental health services, social skills services, academic supports, and activities of daily living services for students with ASD. Comparisons were made between public versus private institutions, 2-year versus 4-year institutions, and across the Northeast, West, Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. Significantly more 4-year and public institutions conducted mental health services at a counseling center. More 4-year institutions were likely to provide social skills services. Private institutions were more likely to provide job coaching and peer-mentorship services as social skills services. There were no significant differences between the overall numbers of social skills, academic, and activities of daily living services offered between the various regions in the United States. These results provide information regarding the perceptions of ASD by DSS personnel and the availability of services for students with ASD across the United States.