Autism and Accommodations in Higher Education: Insights from the Autism Community

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Mar;48(3):679-693. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3353-4.


This article builds on the growing body of research on higher education for autistic students by soliciting input from autistic adults on their higher education experiences and suggestions on making these experiences more 'autism-friendly'. Sixty-six individuals participated in a national exploratory survey and thirty-one participated in follow-up, online focus groups. The article reviews the accommodations individuals received and the accommodations they would have liked to receive. Concrete strategies are provided for institutes of higher education to address the social and sensory needs of autistic students, areas many participants reported being neglected in their academic experience, such as mentors and a neurodiverse space. These suggestions are intended to complement traditional academic accommodations to improve the outcomes of autistic students.

Keywords: Accommodations; Autism; Higher education; Neurodiversity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving / physiology
  • Psychosocial Support Systems*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Student Health Services / methods*
  • Student Health Services / trends
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult