The Experience of a peer coaching program on student’s with Asperger’s transition to postsecondary education

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Title: The Experience of a peer coaching program on student’s with Asperger’s transition to postsecondary education
Author: Eastman, Kelly
Abstract: This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to examine and explore the experience of a Spectrum Support Pilot (SSP) program (i.e., peer coaching intervention program) on students' with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) adaptation to college. Eight undergraduate students with AS (7 males and 1 female, 18-20 years old) completed the same norm-referenced questionnaire at the conclusion of 3 academic quarters. Quantitative analyses examined whether the students' self-reported adaptation to college improved over the course of their academic year as they participated in the SSP program. Results yielded 3 findings: (a) All students' ratings of adaptation to college were within normal limits across all quarters and areas of the questionnaire; (b) no significant improvements were found in the students' adaptation to college over the course of the academic year as they participated in the SSP program; and (c) all but 1 student's mean ratings of adaptation to college were within normal limits at the conclusion of the SSP program. Qualitative methods explored the students' with AS adaptation to college in the context of the SSP program via the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and experiences of the intervention's implementers (i.e., the peer coaches). Five second-year graduate students (5 females, 23-25 years old) in the School Psychology program at the students' institute assumed the role of the peer coaches and completed a questionnaire at the conclusion of the study. Questionnaires were coded for common themes; the following 6 themes emerged from the data and indicated that students with AS had difficulty in these areas: (a) organizational and time management skills; (b) flexibility and adaptability; (c) social and communication skills; (d) self-advocacy skills; (e) adaptive skills; and (f) extra-curricular involvement. Since the number of students with AS attending postsecondary education settings is increasing, and many often present with diverse needs, it is imperative that the community better understands and accommodates their transition process to facilitate their successful adaptation to college.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/12314
Date: 2010-05-21

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