We investigated the need for family member involvement for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in postsecondary settings. We also looked at the perceived needed and fulfilled roles of family members and if family member involvement resulted in positive outcomes for postsecondary students with ASD. We surveyed 211 postsecondary Disability Support Professionals (DSPs) through the AHEAD organization. Using a mixed methods approach including inductive content analysis, results primarily indicated that there is a need for family members to be involved non-academically with students with ASD. We discuss roles that DSPs think family members should fulfill versus roles that DSPs think that family members are actually fulfilling. It is apparent that DSPs think family member involvement is important but must be balanced with increasing the independence of students with ASD while enrolled in school.


Family Involvement, Higher Education, Disability Support Professionals, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Academic Accommodations, Mixed Methods

Author Bio(s)

Bryan Dallas, Ph.D., CRC, LCPC is an Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University and has experience providing disability support services to postsecondary students with disabilities. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: bdallas@niu.edu.

Julie Ramisch, Ph.D., LMFT provides marriage and family therapy services at Coastal Center for Collaborative Health, LLC in Lincoln City, Oregon and has experience working with families and children with autism spectrum disorder. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: julie.ramisch@gmail.com.

Alyssa Ashmore is an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University majoring in Communicative Disorders. Alyssa will pursue her graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: z1734220@students.niu.edu.

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