Perceived Barriers and Challenges to Autistic Students in Higher Education

Gibbs, Kathryn (2020) Perceived Barriers and Challenges to Autistic Students in Higher Education. MRes thesis, University of Lincoln.

Perceived Barriers and Challenges to Autistic Students in Higher Education
Masters by Research Thesis
Gibbs, Kathryn - MSc by Research - Psychology_October2021.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (MRes)
Item Status:Live Archive


Autistic students in higher education face more barriers than those who are non-autistic
(Dillenburger, McKerr, Jordan & Keenan, 2016) due to stigma and misconceptions held by
the public (Zerbo, Massolo, Qian & Croen, 2015) and the ineffective supports in place (Ward
& Webster, 2017). These difficulties may also overlap with difficulties faced by autistic
people in other areas of life due to having autism-specific difficulties. Universities are
particularly difficult for autistic people to access, with adaptations in higher education often
overlooked (Lambe et al., 2018). To find out what sort of barriers people are aware of in
higher education, 11 staff and students were invited to take part in focus groups to discuss
what they saw as key barriers to autistic students in higher education. Thematic analysis
revealed six key themes that showed areas in which staff and students perceived significant
barriers to higher education. Results show that the difficulties perceived overlap with
existing known difficulties in areas such as accessing healthcare and primary and secondary
education. This research is not generalisable to large populations due to the limited sample
size and purely qualitative approach however it does highlight key issues that are perceived
as barriers to higher education for autistic students, and could form the basis of research
conducting further investigation, or looking to trial improvements aimed at tackling barriers
to access of higher education.

Keywords:Autism, higher education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:48454
Deposited On:04 Mar 2022 16:14

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