Northeast Hub Study
This study aligns with the Alliance goal of increasing STEM degree completion for students with ASD by examining students’ use and perceptions of support services provided by either the STEM department or disability services. College SWD who use a variety of support services are significantly more successful in completing college (Newman, Madaus, Lalor, & Javitz, 2019). Also, STEM students with ASD are more likely to enroll in two-year community college programs. According to the NLTS2 (Newman et al., 2011), 81% of students with ASD enroll in two-year community colleges. Students with ASD are more likely to persist in two-year programs and are twice as likely to transfer to 4-year colleges than their peers in non-STEM majors. One-third (33.1%) of young adults with ASD chose a STEM major whereas 22.8% of the general population chose a STEM major (Wei et al., 20012; Wei et al., 2013). This research study will examine the use and value of support services aimed at improving SWD academic and employment outcomes. Services focused on academic outcomes will include tutoring services provided by STEM departments and private tutors, disability support accommodations (extended time, distraction free environment for testing, notetakers, etc.) and assistive technology (speech-to-text; text-to-speech; electronic notetaker pens; etc.). Support related to social outcomes will include peer mentoring and mentoring by teacher/faculty member, social skills instruction and life coaching with a trained facilitator. Employment focused support services include career services (career fairs, stipends, job placement services, job coaching services etc.) and services provided by disability services/organizations (campus disability office, VR – job placement services, job coaching services). All support services will be examined in order to identify those most valued by SWD and the extent to which such services should be tailored to students with different types of disability. Finally, use of these services will be examined in relation to academic, social and employment outcomes.