Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Kyeonghee Jang

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Rachel Slaymaker

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Liz Brown


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability. In light of the increasing diagnostic rate, a growing number of individuals with ASD are reaching young adulthood and attending college. In response to this, colleges and universities have begun designing and implementing unique programs for these students. However, there is a lack of overall empirical research regarding the specific needs of these students as well as little to no research on students with ASD in a faith-based university setting. Through a convenience sample of 273 students, this study seeks to investigate the needs of students with autism at a private Christian university in Texas. The exploratory study uses a quantitative survey to address six aspects of the university experience (helpful services, difficulties in college, college experience: academic, college experience: social, college experience: other, and spiritual satisfaction). Utilizing independent samples t-tests and a multiple linear regression, the social aspect of the college experience was identified as being a significant challenge for students with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, challenges with inherent self-worth were identified. While limitations exist, this study offers valuable insight into the interaction between autism and a Christian university context. Recommendations were made for faith-based institutions to help begin the process of creating a more equitable and satisfying college experience for students with autism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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