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Victoria Schindler, Ph.D.; Abigail Cajiga, MS, OTR; Rae Aaronson, MS, OTR; Lorena Salas, MS, OTR


Background: Obtaining a college degree is a positive and often necessary step to adulthood, independence, and knowledge. Students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder (AD) typically experience difficulty in college, especially in the transition to college. To assist students with AD in the transition to college, an occupational therapy mentoring program was developed in a college setting. This article describes this program, provides quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the program, and uses the outcomes to determine factors to facilitate a successful transition.

Method: A mixed methods design with quantitative and qualitative components was used. The quantitative measures included the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) and data on college retention, and the qualitative measure consisted of in-depth progress note documentation throughout the program.

Results: Eleven participants met criteria for the study. There was a statistically significant difference between COPM pretest and posttest scores on performance (p. = .000) and satisfaction (p. = .000). Nine of the 11 students confirmed college retention. Three themes regarding college transition included (a) maladaptive patterns linked to the characteristics of AD, (b) adaptive patterns linked to the characteristics of AD, and (c) parental influences. Implications for positive transition are proposed based on the findings.

Conclusion: Students with AD can succeed in college, especially with a combination of internal characteristics and external supports.