Author(s)

Carrol DolanFollow

Date

5-2017

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

John R Duryea

Keywords

Autism, College, Disability, Home Education, Homeschool, Support Services

Disciplines

Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Higher Education | Outdoor Education

Abstract

Rates of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are rising, and more individuals with ASD are continuing to college. At the same time, homeschooling is becoming more prevalent, and more students with ASD are being homeschooled. These increases lead to the inference that colleges will see more homeschooled students with ASD applying for admission. The purpose of this case study was to understand experiences of individuals with ASD who were homeschooled that fostered success in the on-campus college environment. The central question guiding this research was: What are the experiences of individuals with ASD who were homeschooled that lead to success in the on-campus college environment? The theory guiding this study was the disability theory as described by Barnes (1991; 2003) and Oliver (1990), which shed light on the ability of individuals with ASD to integrate into the higher education environment. Participants were identified through the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and social media sources; a total of 13 individuals participated. Data was collected via documents, interviews, and reflection journals. Interviews were audio and/or video recorded and transcribed verbatim; interviewees were provided an opportunity to review transcripts for accuracy, and transcripts were verified for accuracy by participants. Data was analyzed via categorical aggregation and cross-case analysis. The main finding or theme was the importance of support, especially from parents, both during the homeschool years and during college. All students with ASD in this study had strong familial support systems, and that support resulted in the students succeeding in college as evidenced by academic transcripts.