This inquiry was conducted to describe the experience of individuals with autism spectrum disorders who have experienced the higher education system. All participants have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and experienced some aspect of the higher education system. Data was collected using primarily face to face interviews. The data was then analyzed using the heuristic methodology of Dr. Clark Moustakas (1990). Ultimately, many patterns and themes emerged from this analysis, culminating in a creative synthesis which sums up the experience. The themes showed the highs and lows of being a college student coupled with the experience of having a developmental disorder as an adult. The final creative synthesis focuses on the life altering changes that occur during the course of the higher education experience for students with autism spectrum disorders.


Autism Spectrum Disorders, College, Higher Education, Heuristic, Personal Experience

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Fleur Wiorkowski has studied psychology in a variety of settings for over 20 years. Most recently she completed her Ph.D. in educational psychology with a focus on bringing the needs of college students with autism spectrum disorders to the attention of other researchers. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Fleur Wiorkowski at, fwiorkowski@sbcglobal.net


This research was conducted as part of a doctoral dissertation to fulfill the requirements of the Ph.D. program in educational psychology at Capella University.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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