Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 41

On-Campus Satisfaction of Students with Autism

staff training has been repeatedly highlighted (Ackles et al., 2013; Fisher, 2015; Hansen,
2011; VanBergeijk et al., 2008), but little integration into training programs (at the professional, peer, or student organization level)
has so far been evident.

IMPLICATIONS AND
RECOMMENDATIONS
Our participants' stories highlighted several
educational support implications for practice
and future research. Students emphasized
their desire to be involved in peer mentoring and tutoring relationships. Housing and
residence life professionals can take the first
step by creating mentorship programs and
training college peers. The National Autistic
Society has published a resource guide for
student mentors of ASD students (Mowat
et al., 2011) that can be utilized to develop
training for residential mentors. The guide
also includes tips for communication and
a list of helpful resources. Access to tutoring services within residence halls was also
mentioned by multiple participants in this
study. In large groups, tutoring can be overwhelming for students with ASD, so providing smaller tutoring sessions is an important
recommendation for practice. LeGary (2017)
offered three suggestions for how administrators and student tutors can best support
students with ASD: variable hours of operation, accommodations for individual student
schedules, and personal appointments.
	
Another recommendation to improve
educational support is to provide more access to technology. Housing and residence
life can help students with ASD in their academic studies by providing them with the
necessary resources and tools to boost their
success. As Knight and associates (2013)

38

The Journal of College and University Student Housing

recommend, " some type of error correction
and reinforcement should be 'built in' to the
software for maximum benefit " (p. 2645).
While some of these resources may be provided through the university, housing and
residence life can fill in gaps by offering
open-access computer labs in and around
residential facilities. Overall, if residence
life and housing professionals are better
able to meet the needs of residents with
autism they will likely bolster and improve
their overall satisfaction.
	
Another implication for practice relates
to developing higher education and residence life professionals in their one-on-one
work with students on the autism spectrum.
At all costs, higher education professionals
strive to avoid harmful interactions with
students; however, there are numerous
alarming stories published online of housing professionals' negative interactions with
students with ASD. Practitioners have robust
resources to inform their professional practice with students with ASD so that they can
avoid such negative interactions. One such
resource is Wolf et al.'s (2009) book, which
offers seven tools-including worksheets,
assessment questions, and reflections-to
aid their one-on-one support of students.
For instance, a self-assessment called " My
Areas of Difficulty Checklist " facilitates reflection for students on what in their college
experience is causing stress. Domains in this
self-assessment relate to learning and memory, attention and organization, communication, behavior, interpersonal skills, sensory
challenges, emotions, wellness, and campus
resources, including questions on housing.
Such tools and others can help improve the
professional practice of one-on-one support
for students with ASD.



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