Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award

Spring 1-24-2022

Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Jennifer J. Lesh

Second Advisor

Richard Jones

Third Advisor

Marissa Kase


Over the years, a marked increase in the number of students with High Functioning Autism (HFA) attending colleges and universities has occurred. This can be attributed to: (a) the passage of legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA); (b) revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM); and (c) early intervention and treatment (Pillay, 2012). Although the increase in enrollment may be an indicator that a more welcoming climate for individuals with HFA has been created, many institutions are not adequately prepared to accommodate these students and parents have not been given the tools to help their children succeed. Students with disabilities and those specifically with HFA have entered in higher education but have a low percentage of graduating. Parents find themselves ill-equipped and unprepared to advocate and ensure that higher education institutions are adequately addressing the cognitive, social, executive functioning, and behavioral deficits that impact their HFA student and their ability to succeed in a higher education academic environment, especially in circumstances where their child has chosen to leave home for college. This dissertation discusses symptoms and key features associated with autism that affect performance in an academic environment provides suggestions for possible accommodations and educational adjustments and offers strategies that support student success and retention for students with HFA transitioning into higher education.


Parent Transition Resource:



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