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ACT FASTT: A Virtual Toolkit to Support College Instructors of Autistic Students

Principal Investigator(s):

Shannon Crowley LaPoint, Ph.D.

Grant Type:

Applied Research




University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Year Awarded:



In Progress


Employment, Transition, and Adults; Behavior, Emotions, Mental Health


An increasing number of autistic individuals are enrolling in post-secondary education. Once enrolled, autistic students often experience challenges (e.g., social, sensory, mental health) in the classroom, and leave college prior to receiving a degree. College instructors are aware that some autistic students are struggling, but few understand how to support autistic students in the classroom. To address such issues, this proposal aims to create A College Training: Faculty of Autistic Students Train Together (ACT FASTT), an innovative toolkit to educate community college instructors in best practices for supporting autistic students. Interviews will be conducted with 45 community members (i.e., autistic community college students, caregivers of autistic community college students, and community college instructors). Thematic analysis will be used to generate themes from the data that will inform the structure and content of the toolkit. After toolkit development, an open trial will be conducted with 10 instructors to examine the feasibility, acceptability, usability, and preliminary efficacy of the intervention. This project aligns directly with OAR’s Community-Engaged Research objective, as we will prioritize the voices of community members in the development of a virtual toolkit. We anticipate that the education of instructors will ultimately improve the support they provide to autistic students and enhance autistic students’ well-being and quality of life.