Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech, Language and Hearing Science

First Advisor

Laura DeThorne

Second Advisor

Hope Gerlach-Houck

Third Advisor

Kourtney Bakalyar


autism, neurodiversity paradigm, medical model, college students


This descriptive study utilized a new tool, the Autism Understanding Tool for Introspection and Evaluation (AUTIE), to examine the demographics of autistic college students and their views of autism relative to features of the medical model (MM) and the neurodiversity paradigm (NP). A total of 20 autistic college students from a single midwestern university completed the 18-item AUTIE and 14 demographic questions. It was encouraging to see that 80% (16/20) of the participants found all 18 questions from the AUTIE to be accessible. Their AUTIE results indicated that all but two of the participants demonstrated an overall higher alignment with the NP than the MM. In addition, when individual items were averaged across participants, the weighted means for each NP item was numerically higher than the weighted means for each MM item, indicating the higher alignment with the NP was generally consistent across all nine features of the paradigm/model. The discussion of results focuses on a comparison of study demographics to past research, the clinical utility of the AUTIE, and implications for supporting college-enrolled autistic students.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted