Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Autism and the College Experience

May 12, 2014

(May 12, 2014) - Today the Interactive Autism Network posted part three in a series examining the research and reality of the transition to adulthood that focused on the difficulties individuals with autism face pursuing postsecondary education.

Many students on the autism spectrum are unable to attend or finish college as a result of the lack of supports available to the autism community at the majority of universities. While Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) help ensure the necessary supports to succeed through high school, colleges and universities that accept federal money are only required to provide "reasonable" accommodations to students with disabilities, provided these accommodations do not fundamentally change the requirements of their programs. Parents are also often no longer able to advocate for their children once they reach postsecondary education. On top of that, some of the challenges associated with autism can be multiplied in college and the transition process can be extremely overwhelming. There must be a better system in place to allow individuals with autism to thrive after high school.

The article features Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro, an adult on the spectrum who received bachelor's and master's degrees from Seton Hall University. "When I got to college, I found out on the first day of orientation that there aren't IEPs. That was the biggest challenge, to go from IEPs to 'reasonable accommodations' and having to advocate for yourself," said Kerry.

For more information about postsecondary education, check out the Autism Speaks Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide here. In addition, Autism Speaks will open applications for the second round of the Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund in August.