As we have explained the challenges students with ASD face nationally in our first blog, we are continuing to establish a comparative analysis on the difference that Pace University’s comprehensive college support program can make. Through collection of data from 2014 to the present, we are finding a vast difference between the national experiences of students with ASD in colleges generally and in Pace University’s comprehensive support program. We are finding statistical analysis for students with ASD concerning transition from the high school protected environment to the more opened concept of college. Our focus is on improvement of executive functioning skills, self-responsibility, and the capability of finding internships and employment. We hope to show that through our comprehensive support program, 90% of students who attend Pace University’s college support program consistently will become independent and self-sustaining adults. We used statistics on retention, academic success, and finding an internship. Yearly, we use a measurement through a five point Likert scale to evaluate a students’ progress in the areas of transition, executive functioning skills, social/emotional development, and employment readiness. The measurements are conducted at the end of each semester to chart a path of improvement.
I feel very proud to say that this research grant is the guiding light to my career path for autism awareness. Reading the current statistics of individuals with ASD going to college, and obtaining jobs, I am very stunned to see how low the percentage is nationwide, considering how much it affects people with high functioning autism who strive to become independent. Doing this research is clarifying how difficult it has been for individuals with autism to have a chance of succeeding in higher education before being employed full time. The research I have done this summer also demonstrates the type of change maker I want to be for my future. As we continue our research for the next academic year, we can hopefully elaborate on possible solutions to expand comprehensive support programs around the world for college students who have learning differences.
As I continue to advocate for Global Awareness about the autism spectrum, this research will be one of my best resources with the hope of constructing safe education environments for students who have learning challenges worldwide. With quality education becoming a sustainable development goal by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, I am sure that there is an opportunity ahead for me to assist a UN body on this one specific factor that can work to their advantage.