Empowering Autistic College Students: Recommendations Based on a Review of the Literature and Existing Support Programs


  • Lori A. Wischnewsky Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas State University




autism, student success, postsecondary, autism-specific programs, academic supports


A review of 29 juried journal articles from 2009–2022, among other sources, found that autistic students face numerous systemic barriers to success in postsecondary settings. Despite autistic students being academically prepared, many are not persisting and completing a postsecondary program. Major findings from the literature include the benefits of additional support for autistic students in the areas of executive functioning skills, selfregulation, mental health, social, and communication skills. Additionally, the research indicates that by offering additional support services, colleges and universities can decrease the systemic barriers to success that autistic students face. The author also discusses the available autism-specific support programs that provide additional services amongst this growing population of students.

Author Biography

Lori A. Wischnewsky, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas State University

Lori Wischnewsky is a neurodivergent doctoral research and teaching assistant at Texas State University in the Developmental Education Graduate Program. Her research focuses on neurodiversity in postsecondary settings, autism-specific support in higher education, and universal design for learning. Lori has worked with neurodivergent people in different capacities since 2001. As a recreation therapist, Lori worked with autistic young adults tobuild executive functioning, social, communication, and life skills. Seeing the systemic barriers her clients faced during their transition to postsecondary education inspired Lori to pursue a doctorate in developmental education. Lori received her bachelor’s degree in social work from The University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Texas State University.


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How to Cite

Wischnewsky, L. A. (2023). Empowering Autistic College Students: Recommendations Based on a Review of the Literature and Existing Support Programs. Journal of College Academic Support Programs, 6(1), 10. https://doi.org/10.58997/fa3