Colleges and universities across the United States are becoming increasingly diverse. That increased diversity includes students who do not use speech as their primary means of expression. This qualitative study focuses on the experiences and challenges of higher education for individuals with autism who type to communicate using a method known as facilitated communication. This article focuses on the perspectives of these individuals as they make sense of their inclusion in and, at times, exclusion from higher education, particularly their academic and social access. In addition, the findings of this research indicate that while there are structural and classroom supports that are helpful for individuals who type to communicate, their participation and meaningful inclusion is also incumbent on attitudinal factors and how receptive faculty and staff are to the students' method of communication. While there is still much work to be done in the area of higher education for individuals with more complex needs, this study highlights the promise of higher education for this new population of students.
ASJC Scopus subject areas