Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Eugenia Webb -Damron, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Marc Ellison

Third Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson


This study explores the need for tailored higher education curricula for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they transition from college to employment. I t is estimated that 50,000 individuals diagnosed with ASD turn eighteen each year (Autism Speaks, 2012), and one in three of those individuals are entering higher education ( Roux , Shattuck, Rast, Rava, & Anderson, 2015) . Individuals with ASD face poor outcomes in the workforce; 75- 85% of adults with ASD do not have full -time employment (Scheiner, 2013). Lack of employment opportunities derive from impairments in social skills, be haviors, theory of mind, and sensory issues (Grandin & Duffy, 2008) in addition to an overall low interest by employers to hire individuals with disabilities (Wilgosh & Skaret, 1987; Millington, Szymanski, & Hanley - Maxwell, 1994; Hernandez, Keys, & Balcaza r, 2000; Unger, 2002). Students with ASD need specific instruction to understand their diagnosis, understand their rights in the workplace, know the risks and benefits of disclosure, and recognize needed accommodations. Employers, business managers, and individuals who have had influence or experience in hiring at their pl ace of work were surveyed ( N = 150) to gather information on current employer understanding of ASD, attitudes regarding hiring employees with ASD, attitudes toward disclosure of an ASD diagnosis, and attitudes toward accommodations for an employee with ASD . Data will assist in the development of relevant preparatory curricula for higher education institutions to support students with ASD transitioning from college to the workforce.


Autism spectrum disorders.

Autism spectrum disorders -- Education.