Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Autism in Higher Education: Access, Challenges, and Support Strategies

  • Ashleigh HillierEmail author
  • Susan White
  • David Schena
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102503-1


The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee identified the development of services to support transition to adulthood as its first objective within the domain of lifespan research (IACC 2019). Around 50,000 adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enter adulthood each year (Shattuck et al. 2012), many of whom have both an interest in higher education and the intellectual capacity to succeed academically. The developmental period bridging adolescence to adulthood is when multiple essential milestones are generally achieved, including increased independence, autonomy, and responsibility (Arnett 2000). Unfortunately, many youths with ASD either fail to meet typical adult developmental milestones or decline in functioning during late adolescence (Picci and Scherf 2014).

Young adults with ASD often experience lower quality of life than do age- and cognitive ability-matched healthy adults (Bishop-Fitzpatrick et al. 2017). They also face sustained challenges with living...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA