Increasing Accessibility in a Peer Assisted College Support Program for Students with Autism in Higher Education

Debra L. Cote, Erica Howell, Shannon L. Sparks, Malia Kasai
2020 Universal Journal of Educational Research  
Transitions from high school to an institution of higher education (IHE) can be compromised for young individuals with disabilities. Markedly, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attend college encounter unique challenges. These include aspects related to social contexts, anxiety, scheduling, relationships, organization, self-disclosure, meeting deadlines, communication, friendships, isolation, decision making, and goal setting. In order to meet this need, California State
more » ... y, Fullerton offers the peer assisted college support program (PACS) to students with ASD enrolled at the university. PACS is a peer supported mentoring model that assists culturally and linguistically diverse students with ASD in navigating the college campus [1]. The aim of this paper is to provide a description of the PACS program at California State University, Fullerton as originally designed and then demonstrates how revisions were decided upon and implemented in light of participant and faculty feedback. A previous report highlighted the program structure and noted the short-term and long-term impacts [1] . Information gathered from the program identified programmatic barriers; reflections and conclusions resulted in program revisions. Current enhancements include a newly revised online framework that is easily accessible and maintainable. Program outcomes, sustainable resources, timeline protocols, collaborative university/district partnerships, and guidelines are presented.
doi:10.13189/ujer.2020.081209 fatcat:7ofyl7xz2rbpnic5hdzveodobq