Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Summy

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Morgan

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Katharine Cummings


Evaluation, Asperger's, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hieher education, university, services


Young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are attending institutions of higher education more than ever before (Smith, 2007). All college students with disabilities have the right to accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA; P.L. 110-325); however, these accommodations frequently do not address barriers that prevent students with ASD from successfully completing their academic programs. The Autism Services Center at a public, four-year university provides services to its college students with ASD to address difficulties with communication and social skills, unique emotional and behavior characteristics, insufficient executive function, and difficulties with independent living skills. Programs providing additional support to students with ASD are becoming more prevalent. The effectiveness of these services is unknown, and more studies and evaluations are needed to determine what services are beneficial to student success (Longtin, 2014).

This study applies the Context, Input, Process, and Product (CIPP) model to evaluate the preliminary services being provided to college students with ASD through the Autism Services Center (Stufflebeam & Shinkfield, 2007). The CIPP model provides a comprehensive, systematic review of projects often used for formative evaluations of service programs. Online surveys, interviews, a focus group, and review of existing student documents were used to gather data from the students with ASD, their parents, instructors, and staff; data were analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Retention rates, GPA, and percentage of credits completed suggests the Autism Services Center is having a positive impact on academic success. Responses from surveys, interviews, and a focus group highlight satisfaction of the services from all groups. Common suggestions for improvement of services include more training in the area of ASD for staff and instructors and more social events for students with ASD. A discussion of possible changes to the program, limitations of the study, and future research directions is included.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access