Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Scot Danforth, PhD

Second Advisor

Meghan Cosier, PhD

Third Advisor

Phil Ferguson, PhD


This qualitative research study aims to facilitate a better understanding of the process of transition from secondary school to community college for students identified with autism. Previous research indicates that though most students identified with autism report that they have strong intentions of pursuing a postsecondary education, comparatively few achieve this goal. Prior research on transition has focused on strategies utilized by secondary schools to facilitate success for students identified with autism or postsecondary institutional approaches utilized once a student has arrived at the school. This bifurcated approach has resulted in a gap in the research in that virtually no studies have considered transition from a unified perspective, nor has any serious attention been given to the summer “gap” that exists between secondary school and community college. Through a grounded theory exploration, the experiences and perspectives of college-bound students identified with autism, their parents/caregivers, high school and community college faculty and other stakeholders resulted in the emergence of foundational elements central to understanding what critical factors influence these students and how these students and stakeholders experience this transition. Furthermore, these foundational elements provide, within the confines of this study, a preliminary model of transition for students identified with autism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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