The Role of Schools in Adult Outcomes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Principal Investigator(s):
Connie Anderson, PhD
Caroline McNicholas, PhD
Grant Type:
Applied Research
Towson University
Towson, Maryland
Year Awarded:
Education and School Aged Children


In an earlier qualitative study featuring interviews with 12 young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 35 parents of young adults with ASD, participants raised a number of school-related issues having impacts lasting into adulthood. These included delays in ASD diagnosis; appropriateness of school-based supports and interventions; social isolation at school; whether a student was bullied and whether this was addressed; quality of transition support provided; and preparation for life after high school in terms of life skills, social skills, and self-advocacy. The current study will enrich and expand these findings by adding interviews with approximately 15 educators from the same geographic area who have worked with children or teenagers with ASD. Young adult, parent, and educator interviews will be analyzed together using the constant comparative method to identify common or contrasting themes and insights. The focus will be on what has gone right (or wrong) for students with ASD during the school years, and with what lasting consequences. It is anticipated that findings will illuminate both successful school-based practices and urgent problems affecting students with ASD, suggesting avenues for future research while empowering individuals with ASD, parents, and educators to advocate for change.


See a brief overview of the study in progress, including goals, methodology, expected results, and implications.

Read the Snapshot

Back to Funded Research