Self-determination skill development: a qualitative exploration of college students with autism spectrum disorders
This study explored the influence of how the development of self-determination skills affected college students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Five college students who qualified for a university-based disabilities resource program under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) participated in a five session mentoring program over the course of the first 12 weeks of the fall semester. The mentoring program was designed to develop specific self-determination skills, including, self-awareness, self-advocacy, and confidence. Participants engaged in an interactive dialogue, discussing specific skills and experiences, relative to the development of self-determination skills. Pre- and post-surveys, and a post intervention interview indicated that the students reported positive results in describing that mentoring experience, and found the protocol useful in their development of self-determination skills. Implications identified for further application into practice, include (a) a deeper appreciation and review of the participants’ background and experience, (b) the development and implementation of peer-to-peer mentoring, (c) the need for more intentional collaboration with high school partners, (d) the need to expand the skills being developed, and (e), the need to expand the number of services and resources discussed. This study will be used in the exploration of a broader collegiate mentoring program geared towards students with ASD with the purpose of increasing self-determination skills.