Transition to university for autistic students in Australia
Commenced February 2017
Confirmation of Candidature June 2018
Systematic Literature Review Published 2019
Mid Candidature Review July 2020
Intended submission Sept 2022
Nuske, A., Rillotta, F., Bellon, M., & Richdale, A. (2019). Transition to higher education for students with autism: A systematic literature review. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(3), 280.
Conference Poster: Transition to higher education for students with autism: A systematic literature review. ASfAR Conference, 2018
Conference Poster: Transition to university for students on the autism spectrum in Australia. STARS Conference, 2021
This project aims to identify the facilitators and barriers to transition to, and first year of university for autistic students in Australia. The project explores the experiences of autistic students and their support networks using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. The number of autistic students enrolling at university is increasing, yet research shows the completion rates of autistic students is well below that of their peers (Newman et al., 2011). Studies have also shown that autistic university students are likely to delay disclosing or seeking assistance (Cai & Richdale, 2016).
Data were collected from autistic students via online surveys and interviews to explore their experiences of transition to university. Data were also collected from family members of autistic students, and university staff, to explore their experiences of providing support to autistic students during this transition. The project uses Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) as a theoretical framework for exploring potential barriers and facilitators impacting directly and indirectly on the student during transition.
This project will provide crucial insight into the needs of autistic students during their transition to university. It will also provide insight into the experiences of family members and university staff in understanding their role in supporting the successful transition for autistic students. Understanding these experiences will help to improve the access, participation, and completion rates of autistic students at university. Recommendations will be provided for transition and first-year policies and practices.
This research project has the potential for significant ongoing impact across the higher education sector. The findings of this study will provide an insight into the experiences of autistic students in universities in Australia. In turn, this knowledge will result in recommendations for policy and practice to better support the transition to, and first-year experience for autistic university students in Australia.
An easy-read resource for this project is not currently available.