Experiences of Autistic College Students in Higher Education and Their Relations with Faculty
Autistic students are increasingly enrolling in postsecondary institutions. While studies examining faculty-student relations is rising, there are few to no studies looking at how these relations may impact academic self-concept for autistic youth. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate autistic college students’ academic self-concept and their interactions with faculty. A sample of participants (n=12) was recruited for investigation regarding autistic college students’ experiences. The interviews with students revealed that most students have a positive academic self-concept due to factors like personal motivation to do well, following family values, striving for high academic achievement, and proving someone wrong. Other factors were also found to have an impact on academic self-concept in general. These included accommodations (disclosing based on necessity, The Disabilities Services Office failing to provide necessary supports, and community colleges providing better accommodations), impact of the pandemic, and learned self-awareness. Faculty relations with students seemed to vary where each student had situations with both positive and negative interactions. The theme of accommodations was prevalent as it was found that faculty play an important role in students receiving both formal and informal accommodations needed to succeed in their courses.