Successful Autistic Female College Students: A Qualitative Study

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There is an increasing number of people with autism. Autistic women have a different presentation of autism than autistic men and may have different needs. As more autistic men and women go to college, they bring challenges and strengths. They have difficulties with persistence and completion of a degree. To improve the success of autistic students, more information is needed about what influences their success. This research looked at three autistic women who were successful in college. The three women and various people who supported them were interviewed. There were four themes that emerged regarding factors that contributed to the success of these young women. Their parents were involved with assisting them. They found a close-knit individualized environment in college. They were able to develop interests besides academics and they utilized services that were available to them. This study contributed to the literature of autistic women in college. Future research can develop these themes by exploring different populations and different schools. Other avenues for future research could be to explore men and women and gender-fluid autistic people to see if there is a difference in their needs, examining a population of autistic people that are not as forthcoming about their diagnosis and the participants in this study, and determining what kinds of training or activities can be done to make the university culture welcoming of neurodiversity.

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  • 02/20/2024
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