What is it about?

Autistic students have many strengths such as honesty, creative thinking, and a passion for favorite subjects. However, many autistic students experience challenges at college such as feeling socially isolated or not having accommodations they need. Our paper discusses specific ways that colleges can become more accessible for autistic students. For example, we discuss how to create a more sensory-friendly classroom. We also give suggestions for group work, tests, and presentations. One main goal of our paper is creating a sense of belonging or inclusion for autistic students. Finally, we discuss how universities can support autistic students who also have other disabilities. We also discuss the experiences of autistic students who experience discrimination based on their financial situation, race, or any other part of their identity.

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Why is it important?

Many autistic students struggle in college. This could be due to feeling socially out of place, not having enough accommodations, or finding all the changes overwhelming. Creating a more inclusive college environment can help improve the wellbeing and success of autistic students in college.


I am autistic myself and have experienced firsthand both the many opportunities that higher education can unlock as well as ways in which college can be confusing as an autistic person. It was exciting to be able to collaborate with co-authors who have a broad range of both personal and professional experience on the topic in order to create this article. For instructors or staff who are reading this article, I hope that it provides something of value! Even if it may not be possible to implement every suggestion in the article, I hope that at least some of the suggestions provide a useful starting point. I'm always happy to hear any feedback about the article (sam.brandsen@duke.edu).

Sam Brandsen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Developing an inclusive campus for autistic students., Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, February 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/dhe0000551.
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