Few studies reported the concerns and challenges of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at the college level, and there is no existing study on the peers’ perspectives so far. Transitioning from high school into college is difficult for all students, and it is even more difficult for students with autism. Often, students with autism find that they are not aware of or prepared for the differences between secondary and post-secondary school. Given that the prevalence of autism is increasing at a dramatic rate, 1 in 56 (the Centers for Disease Control, 2013), it is critically important to investigate the current status of college students with autism and what they need to be successful in college.
This presentation will provide data evidence for the potential peer training from a descriptive and correlational research investigation via a survey instrument among 300 college students. It will explore the residence life of college students with autism from their peers’ point of view, investigate the training needs for peers to help students with autism gain a better residence experience in college, and discuss effective ways colleges can use to foster peers’ support for students with ASD. The presenters will provide hands-on activities, interactive questions and answers, and opportunities for discussion to enhance the participants’ self-awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion.
Jie Zhang, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Education and Human Development at The College at Brockport since 2008, teaches special education courses. She also supervises student teachers and taught graduate thesis seminar. Her research interests are: exploring the cultural and linguistic factors in the services for children with diverse backgrounds/abilities and their families; and investigating the efficacy of different instructional methods on teaching and learning. Dr. Zhang’s passion is to work with children with diverse backgrounds and their teachers and parents/families to enhance the quality of their lives.
Rebekah Feller ’13 earned a bachelor of science in history with teacher certification at The College at Brockport, and she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in literacy education at the College. Ms. Feller’s commitment to the College community as an undergraduate is evident through her work as a resident assistant, a leadership role in the Teachers, Educators, Administrators, Counselors, Human Resources/Services (TEACH) Association, and as a member of the Sankofa African Dance and Drumming Ensemble and the Brockport Symphony Orchestra. Her commitment to the local community is exemplified in her work as a leader in Brockport Community Development days and as a camp counselor for the ARC of Orleans County.