Access to education is a crucial aspect of one’s personal and professional development. Through education, people gain knowledge and skills critical to their survival in highly competitive environments. Notably, acquiring a post-secondary school education provides a student with an opportunity to specialize in an area of their interest. Therefore, a smooth transition from secondary to post-secondary school education is vital for fostering the ability of learners to cope with their new academic commitments (Wolanin & Steele, 2004).
However, individuals with physical disabilities experience a range of challenges that bar them from equitably accessing post-secondary education. In this case, persons with disabilities experience a form of inequality that undermines their personal and professional growth. Mostly, individuals suffering from ASD undergo a rough transition from secondary schools to tertiary institutions (Cook, Hayden, Wilczenski, & Poynton, 2015). Primarily, ASD represents several developmental challenges or issues that showcase varying symptoms, skills, and categories of disability. ASD subjects individuals to social problems as they experience difficulties in communicating and interacting with others. Besides poor communication and interaction, most students with autism perform poorly in academics, exhibit dependent daily living skills, as well as poor advocacy for their rights (Newman, Madaus, & Javitz, 2016).
The low enrollment of individuals with ASD conditions to post-secondary education implies that their health status is a barrier to personal development. Individuals with ASD enrolled in postsecondary education institutions need planning and unceasing support to foster their success compared to those without the disorders (Van Bergeijk, Klin, & Volkmar, 2008). Therefore, the stakeholders including the ASD students, their families, post-secondary education institutions, and governmental and non-governmental education agencies need to create structures and programs that facilitate the smooth transition of the affected cohort (Schutz, 2002). This paper addresses the issue of limited accessibility to post-secondary education among students with ASD. The paper also focuses on the historical implications and current implications of limited access to post-secondary education for kids with ASD. It also discusses the sources of empowerment to the affected learners.
Over the past two decades, health care institutions in the United States (U.S) have recorded an upsurge of young people diagnosed with ASD (Horrocks, White, & Roberts, 2008). The health issue affects individuals transitioning from secondary schools to college considerably as the prevalence depends on several factors. The increasing number of students with ASD exposes them to challenges that undermine their personal, social, and intellectual development. Shockingly, 50% of young people diagnosed with ASD do not have intellectual disabilities (Test et al., 2009). Therefore, undermining their smooth transition to postsecondary education challenges intellectual growth in environments that need to nurture them.
Furthermore, various barriers prevent students with autism from enrolling in colleges while some quit along the way. The National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) shows that at least 36% of students with ASD quit schools. The alarming cases of quitting education are sizeable among students with ASD compared to those without such health conditions. Additionally, ASD students record poor academic performance implying that the environment lacks the proper plan and support structures required to bolster the cognitive and intellectual development of the affected learners (Roberts, 2010). Therefore, the small number of graduates diagnosed with ASD is disquieting since it denotes their disempowerment in a society that seeks to establish systems that uphold equality. As such, the weak transition systems for students with ASD seeking post-secondary school education hinder their intellectual and academic growth and development besides preventing them from pursuing preferred careers.
The students with ASD who enroll in post-secondary schools demonstrate poor social connections with their colleagues because they are stigmatized (Nevill & White, 2011). Besides social exclusion, the independence of ASD victims subjects them to stressful experiences in the college settings, thereby prompting them to quit their educational endeavors. In most post-secondary school environments, students with disabilities rarely interact with others to build meaningful relationships (Wagner, Newman, & Javitz, 2014). A majority of the normal learners avoid associating with them owing to the variations in skills and physical appearance.
Recent figures show that 6% of the students in colleges have a particular disability that requires specialized attention. The proportion is small compared to the rising number of youths diagnosed with different forms of disabilities in the United States. However, low-income families rarely enroll their students in institutions of higher learning owing to their poor financial background (Geller & Greenberg, 2009). For this reason, out of the 6% of the students enrolled in post-secondary schools, only 10% come from African American and Hispanic backgrounds (Nevill & White, 2011). As such, the issue cuts across the financial background of students as well as ethnicities.
Importance of the Topic
Different factors account for the inabilities to access post-secondary education among students with ASD. Addressing the various issues provides the basis for understanding the nature of social injustices that these learners go through. Transition planning approaches, individual issues, and family concerns constitute the factors that influence the prevalence of the problem in societies not only in the United States but also across the globe.
Transition Planning Issues
The challenges that learners with ASD encounter in contemporary educational settings have triggered the desire to evaluate the extent to which the systems facilitate the preparation of students with disabilities as they transition from high schools to colleges and universities (Szidon, Ruppar, & Smith, 2015). In this light, the participation of students with ASD in both high schools and post-secondary institutions is viewed as a key factor for the enhancement of their transition processes. However, the current situation shows that ASD students experience isolation (Horrocks, White, & Roberts, 2008). Furthermore, the reduced participation of students with disabilities, particularly those with behavioral and learning challenges affects their intellectual and cognitive development in the educational surroundings (Wei, Wagner, Hudson, Jennifer, & Javitz, 2015).
Stakeholders in the education sector have not fully integrated structures that facilitate the efficient transitioning of students from high schools to colleges or universities. Wei et al. (2015) maintain that poor planning has resulted in the creation of a state of unpreparedness to transition to post-secondary schools. The students find it difficult to cope with the new educational environments. In this regard, Balcazar et al. (2012) argue that post-secondary education and employment comprise the key transitioning aspects that foster the empowerment of individuals affected by different forms of disabilities.
Through effective transition planning, students with disabilities gain self-determination skills necessary for coping mechanisms in the new educational environments after completing high school education (Szidon, Ruppar, & Smith, 2015). However, the absence of transition processes that instill the relevant skills among students with ASD contributes to their poor performance in academics once they enroll in post-secondary schools (Jameson, 007). Therefore, there is a need for the establishment of support systems that bolster the successful transitioning of the mentioned category of students.
In most cases, students with ASD lack people who can facilitate the realization of the transition goals (Van Bergeijk et al., 2008). Mostly, the support people help ASD students to identify their strengths and weaknesses before establishing the transitional goals. Nonetheless, most students affected by learning, emotional, and behavioral disabilities lack the essential support people required to bolster their adaptive capabilities as they join tertiary institutions to pursue their careers of choice (Finnie, Wismer, & Mueller, 2015). Consequently, individuals with ASD feel socially isolated, thus worsening their psychological imbalances (Gorter et al., 2014).
Additionally, transition-planning education is a key factor that influences the enrollment of ASD students to post-secondary schools. The full receipt of such education is lacking in most post-secondary schools in the United States, therefore discouraging students with disabilities from engaging in academic undertakings. Mostly, transition-planning education together with accommodation services creates environments that support students with ASD (Newman et al., 2016). Therefore, students who receive transition-planning education at the high school level have a great chance of coping with challenges in post-secondary institutions. The case favors college students pursuing 2-year courses as they could quickly identify and establish support systems that boost their independence (Brown & Coomes, 2016).
Several forces within individuals with ASD influence their transition from high school to college or university. An array of factors prevents ASD youths from developing self-dependence skills, thereby undermining their success in realizing transitional goals. Personal issues affect the learners’ post-secondary transition process since they hinder personal growth (Schall, Wehman, & Carr, 2014). In this case, the students with ASD need to possess a range of skills that influence their academic and professional commitments positively. The possession of self-determination skills plays an integral role in guiding one’s life journey. The development of self-determination skills among students with ASD is crucial for improving their transition to institutions of higher learning (Jameson, 2007). The self-determination skills also reinforce their switch to employment and independent life in society.
A significant number of youths with ASD exhibit poor communication skills that undermine the success of their social interactions. Boonen et al. (2014) argue that in post-secondary schools, youths with ASD fear approaching people, especially those of the opposite gender. Thus, poor communication skills undermine their ability to establish meaningful relationships (Belyakov, Cremonini, Mfusi, & Rippner, 2009). For this reason, learners with ASD feel rejected or isolated due to their poor communication and social skills. The issue undermines their effective transition as they perceive the school environment as hostile. Only a small proportion of students with challenges in social interactions attain academic excellence. Therefore, the need for the reinforcement of the students’ communication and social skills is relevant for improving their academic success (Rao, Beidel, & Murray, 2008).
As stated by Zager and Alpern (2010), developing one’s social competence is a progressive process of perpetual improvement. In this case, the integration of different programs that target the reinforcement of social skills among students with ASD is essential for enhancing their interactive and relational aspects of development.
Sensory challenges among students with ASD undermine their educational achievement to a considerable degree. The different sensory elements that influence the experiences of students in post-secondary schools include proper orientation, motion, light, taste, touch, and sound (Hewitt, 2011). For instance, students with learning disabilities find noise and fluorescent lights in the learning environments as obstacles to their effective accommodation in postsecondary institutions. Additionally, some students find it hard to cope with the feeding programs that tertiary institutions offer. The sensitivity of the sensory organs of students with ASD makes them consider dropping out of school. They perceive such environments as stressful (Thoma & Getzel, 2005).
Students with ASD engage in intensive self-monitoring encounters especially in their academic undertakings in post-secondary institutions. The development of self-monitoring skills is a way of streamlining one’s transitioning process since it fosters confidence in facing new academic encounters. However, Field, Sarver, and Shaw (2003) claim that the self-monitoring instances drain students with disabilities vital energy. For example, hiding one’s true feelings in social interactions ought to be integrated as a requirement for them to build relationships with others. Therefore, the situation makes the learners with ASD experience emotional imbalances as they try to conceal their true feelings or perceptions. The self-monitoring issue requires the creation of disability services that assist learners to improve their self-determination and self-advocacy skills.
The development of support systems that assist students with ASD in enhancing their self-determination skills is vital to improving the chances of transitioning to post-secondary schools successfully (Griffin, Mello, Glover, Carter, &Hodapp, 2016). In this light, instilling the relevant skills through training programs is an essential initiative for promoting equitable access to educational opportunities regardless of one’s health status. Wilson et al. (2016) argue that the inculcation of self-determination skills needs to start at an early age, especially in the elementary grades before the intensification of such efforts at the high school level.
The development of self-advocacy skills among students is also a sound intervention that can facilitate their empowerment. Self-advocacy skills instilled in students with ASD enable them to understand their rights and fight for the protection of the same (Wenzel & Rowley, 2010). Mostly, the self-advocacy skills facilitate the creation of an internal locus of control essential for upholding their interests as individual students in different educational environments.
In most cases, weak transition planning affects students with ASD from low-income families (Mueller, 2008). The households lack adequate financial resources, thus failing to satisfy the unique needs of members with disabilities. Catering for the students’ fees and transport among other expenses is a burden to the facilities. As a result, most students with ASD fail to enroll in post-secondary education after clearing high school (Camarena & Sarigiani, 2009). Therefore, in spite of the efforts that the governmental agencies make, the poor financial background of some families undermines the effective changeover of students with ASD to institutions of higher learning.
Furthermore, in some instances, parents fail to report the health condition of their kids to the post-secondary schools when they get enrolled. In most cases, the parents leave the burden of identifying the different forms of disabilities affecting students to tertiary institutions. The institutions discern the problems facing students after they administer tests to gauge their cognitive skills (Carbone, 2013). The display of behaviors that deviate from the acceptable norms in the school environment signifies the failure of the family units to facilitate the adoption of upright characters by students with ASD.
The financial status of a family affects the transition process of a member with ASD. Notably, low-income families experience financial constraints that discourage them from accessing particular products or services that can improve the well-being of a kid with ASD. In return, it becomes hard for the student to access post-secondary education. According to Zalewska, Migliore, and Butterworth (2016) poor families cannot afford the transport costs for their kids. Therefore, the students cannot enroll in tertiary institutions, particularly if they have to commute from home to school on a daily basis. Additionally, the cost of tuition could prompt the student with ASD to consider not joining or dropping out of a tertiary institution (Zalewska et al., 2016).
The participation of the parents in facilitating the efficient transition of the student is also a factor that influences the educational achievement of individuals with ASD (Hagner, Kurtz, May, & Cloutier, 2014). In many cases, parents fail to report the health condition of their children while registering for courses in institutions of higher education. The move makes it hard for tertiary institutions to introduce the student into their disability support programs, thus affecting the student’s transition process. Chiang, Cheung, Hickson, Xiang, and Tsai (2012) claim that failure of family participation creates a situation where the students lack support from their colleagues, thereby making it difficult for them to determine the support people in the school setting.
The education level of the family members, especially parents is a critical determinant of the academic success of the children with ASD. Parents who did not go past the high school level are likely to disregard the essence of the education of their children with ASD (Carbone, 2013). Thus, lack of awareness regarding the importance of taking children with ASD to school is a crucial factor that contributes to the low number of students who enroll for post-secondary education. There is the need to educate families on the importance of promoting the academic success of their children with ASD.
Historical Implications of the Social Injustice
The concept of ASD emerged in 1943 after pediatric psychiatrists at John Hopkins Hospital regarded children with reduced ability to form social relationships, inability to communicate effectively, and the increased propensity to performing routine behaviors as autistic (Cai & Richdale, 2016). The identified characteristics created the old definitions of ASD as the issue gained consideration by scholars interested in delving into studies that sought to explore its dynamics.
The first instances of students with ASD showing challenges in transitioning to post-secondary schools began to manifest themselves in universities and colleges towards the end of the 19th century. In 1864, Gallaudet University began enrolling deaf students in the institution to promote evenhanded education opportunities to different categories of individuals. The 1900 entry of Hellen Keller in Radcliffe College also showed the efforts put by persons with disabilities towards the transition process to post-secondary schools (Childs, Finnie, & Mueller, 2009). After the World War II, there was advocacy for the incorporation of formal support programs for students with disabilities in post-secondary schools such as the University of Illinois (Hewitt, 2011)
The growing concerns over the enrollment of students with ASD in institutions of higher learning prompted legal actions. In 1973, the first national civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was established, which sought the development of comprehensive services to cater to students with disabilities (Neubert, 2003). The legislation emphasized the need to create programs that facilitate the provision of equitable educational opportunities for students with disabilities across the United States. The national law created the avenues for improved transition to post-secondary school establishments as players sought to abide by the provisions.
The need to accommodate students with disabilities in colleges and universities triggered the evolution of the sphere of disability services in the mid-1970s. Studies in this sphere led to the development of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 that required the provision of free and suitable K-12 education (Morningstar & Liss, 2008). The legislation led to the need for the establishment of similar provisions at the post-secondary school level since most students experienced difficulties in enrolling in institutions of higher learning.
The call for the creation of an institution that would facilitate the establishment of policies that meet the unique and different needs of students with disabilities led to the formation of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) in 1977. Later, in 1985, the United States Department of Education saw the need for capturing valuable data regarding the issues surrounding students with disabilities in the country. The concern prompted the education body to assist in the establishment of the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NTLS) (Alwell & Cobb, 2006). The NTLS has since been integral in promoting collection of data regarding the demographical changes, expectations and outcomes of the spectrum of students with disabilities in the United States.
Nonetheless, since the 1980s, students with disabilities have shown undesirable post-school outcomes. Test et al. (2009) argue that poor transition processes, individual skills, and family issues undermine the success of students after exiting post-secondary institutions. Students with ASD who completed college between 1979 and 1983 experienced difficulties in establishing meaningful careers. Test et al. (2009) claim that only 55% of the students secured employment. Moreover, since the 1980’s individuals with ASD failed to secure full-time jobs. Less than 67% of students with ASD realized full-time jobs (Morgan & Openshaw, 2011). Therefore, historically, the poor enrolment and transition of students with ASD in tertiary education accounted for their poor professional growth.
Furthermore, between 1970s and 1980s, individuals with ASD received little rewards for their commitment to the workplace. The weak transition structures prompted a considerable proportion of high school graduates to disregard the significance of post-secondary education. As a result, 72% of the high school graduates who got jobs could only earn below $5 per hour, a rate also earned by 84% of the lot that quit high school (Morgan & Openshaw, 2011). For this reason, the period saw a significant percentage of youths with ASD fail to secure sustainable employment opportunities resulting in them living in poor conditions.
Between the 1990s and the early 2000s, the enactment of laws and policies that sought to promote the empowerment of individuals with disabilities led to increased enrollment of the cohort in post-secondary schools (Adreon & Dorocher, 2007). The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 expected post-secondary schools to offer students with disabilities justifiable accommodation to promote the accessibility of equitable education opportunities (Marshak, Van Wieren, Ferrell, Swiss, & Dugan, 2010). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) established in 1997 stipulates that the various district schools in the United States need to develop Individual Education Plan (IEP) to cater to the transitional needs of students with disabilities (Sitlington & Clark, 2007).
In 2000, the need to incorporate individuals with ASD and mild traumatic brain injury in disability services led to the creation of NTLS-2; a new version of the previous one established in 1985 (Neubert, 2003). The NTLS-2 included new categories of data collection for students in the various schools in the United States because challenges in transition raised substantial concerns. Moreover, the increasing number of students enrolled in post-secondary schools in the country led to AHEAD’s creation of program, standards and professional indicators that were submitted to the Office of Disability Services to facilitate the establishment of empowerment initiatives for students with ASD (Dallas, Ramisch, & McGowan, 2015). The efforts of AHEAD revealed that the issues affecting individuals with disabilities particularly the students kept on evolving. Therefore, there was a need for continuous intervention programs.
The institutional responses played a significant role in enhancing the transition processes and realization of individual goals. However, the interventions still require reinforcement since the period only saw 57% of college graduates secure employment positions (Sitlington & Clark, 2007).
Current Implications of the Social Injustice
Currently, the issue of poor accessibility of post-secondary school education among students with ASD is influenced by an array of factors that necessitate consideration. The educational aspirations of the learners, impediments in the post-secondary settings, and the support resources for students with ASD have shaped the current state of the problems in countries such as the United States. These factors influence different aspects of the educational endeavors of students with ASD. Mostly, they contribute to the outcomes of students including their social interactions, academic performance, and autonomy in the community.
A study by Alwell and Cobb (2006) revealed that parents and children who seek to pursue post-secondary education in different fields usually set educational goals that aim at improving their welfare. However, many students in the contemporary settings show concerns over the readiness of post-secondary institutions to accommodate and support them to achieve the set goals (Martinez & Queener, 2010). Therefore, the failure of academic institutions to establish structures that promote efficient integration of students with ASD in the United States is a major injustice in the education sector. Currently, at least 11% of students in institutions of higher learning are diagnosed with a particular disability. Thus, failure to put them through support systems denotes the level of discrimination meted on this cohort.
Today, students with ASD face several obstacles that undermine their coping mechanisms in the post-secondary environments. The obstacles inhibit the attainment of their educational goals. Learners with ASD, particularly those who suffer from emotional, behavioral, and learning difficulties, experience challenges in handling coursework assignments satisfactorily (Gorter et al., 2014). On the other hand, parents show concerns over the capacity of the facilities and programs in the post-secondary institutions to improve the skills and capabilities to guarantee the success of the educational endeavors that their sons and daughters pursue. The affected students usually apply self-monitoring practices in different engagements in the educational settings since they often fear the reaction of fellow students and teachers. For this reason, they end up being unable to communicate their thoughts in tests and social interactions. It undermines the realization of the academic and professional goals of the learners (Neubert, 2003).
There exists a gap between the learners’ aspirations and the availability of resources availed to facilitate the transition processes as well as decision-making approaches. Parents and students continually raise concerns over the conduciveness of post-secondary school environments, particularly regarding the attainment of the learner’s educational goals. Currently, there is an increasing demand for the development of support systems and programs that empower students with ASD to attain their aspirations.
The ability of the student to adjust to the post-secondary school setting is also an attribute that signifies the present implications of social injustice. A student with any form of ASD who is taking either a two-year or four-year academic program is concerned with several aspects that would influence his/her transition plan and course (Woods, Sylvester, & Martin, 2010). Importantly, factors such as the campus size, accommodation arrangements, and the nearness of the institution to the student’s home have drawn attention among individuals with ASD who aim to register with institutions of higher learning to pursue particular educational and professional goals.
For the sake of enhancing the changeover success in post-secondary education of individuals with ASD, organizations consider the integration of different supportive components into their institutions. Currently, there are increasing calls for the provision of documents that provide information about effective transition approaches. Additionally, the establishment of goals that students with ASD can pursue is also necessary. It would encourage education stakeholders to assume active roles needed for the realization of the set goals (Sitlington & Clark, 2007). The improvement of the learning approaches is also a factor that needs thorough consideration. Integration of universal educational curricula is vital for promoting equality education and boosting the academic performance of students with ASD in tertiary institutions.
The need for the development of self-advocacy skills is noteworthy factor that influences the transition of students with ASD in post-secondary environments (Hagner et al., 2014). Moreover, the accessibility to reasonable accommodation is gaining consideration among students and institutions of higher learning owing to the need for the provision of facilities and programs that enhance the learning experiences of students especially those with ASD. According to Hagner et al. (2014) the transition processes require adopting technology to meet the diverse and unique needs of students with ASD.
The inability of post-secondary schools to accommodate students with ASD predisposes them to a range of challenges in the current educational environments (Woods et al., 2010). The current learning programs require students to engage in demanding activities. It may be hard for students with ASD to undertake demanding assignments. Additionally, the students are expected to cope with sensitive educational environments. Failure to provide supportive environments to students with ASD undermines their socialization, thus creating the issue of exclusion or isolation.
Sources of Empowerment
The need to enhance the post-secondary school experiences of students with ASD calls for the empowerment of the affected cohort. One of the ways to empower is the students is to assign them support persons. Support people play a considerable role in empowering youth with disabilities who seek to enroll in post-secondary schools. Importantly, they facilitate the smooth transition process by reinforcing self-determination skills among students with ASD (Sitlington & Clark, 2007). Support people help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students with ASD before creating the transitional goals. Furthermore, they assist vulnerable students to pursue interim goals by developing viable action plans.
The support people help the learners to gain skills to lead an independent life in schools. A study by Martin, Martin, and Osmani (2014) reveals that through the empowerment by the support people and helpers, students with different forms of disabilities realize 65% of their goals. Thus, Zeedyk, Tipton, and Blacher (2016) maintain that it is imperative to assist students with disabilities to identify individuals who can aid them to attain the transition goals as they pursue their academic endeavors in tertiary institutions. Zeedyk et al. (2014) state that it is essential to ensure that each support person that a student identifies works towards the accomplishment of the transition goals.
Besides accessing the building and other educational facilities, students with ASD need to access education curricula and instructions that prepare them to live successfully in the 21st century (Woods et al., 2010). In doing that, educational institutions would facilitate the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that seeks the provision of accessible education curricula to students with various disability issues in the United States.
The empowerment of students with ASD through the creation of a universal education system is relevant. It would not require modifications of the post-secondary school or provision of additional accommodations facilities to offer appropriate curricula to ASD students (Vincent, 2016). Instead, establishing priority outcomes through a universal education system for post-secondary schools can bring about desirable results among students with disabilities (Burgstahler & Russo-Gleicher, 2015).
The creation of support systems that can boost the number of students with ASD who complete their tertiary education can be a vital source of empowerment. The initiative would reduce the number of students who drop out of school due to disabilities (Wenzel & Rowley, 2010). Interventions that address the contributing factors including the level of income in the family and ethnic backgrounds would play an essential function in empowering students with ASD.
There is the need for the establishment of approaches that facilitate the identification, documentation, and broad dissemination of research-based information regarding the proper practices for curbing the prevalence of drop-out cases in students with ASD (Vincent, 2016). Delving into inquiries that seek to investigate the loopholes in the transition to post-secondary schools would promote the identification of remedial mechanisms, which would empower students with ASD significantly.
Thoma et al. (2011) argue that encouraging students with ASD to participate in research programs that seek to foster their success in post-secondary schools is a significant source of empowerment. For instance, through photovoice inquiries, the participants could relate perceptions regarding the constraints that hinder their successful enrollment and post-secondary school completion. Such interventions would make the students feel recognized, thus encouraging them to carry on with their education. Additionally, the involvement of students with ASD in research would promote personal growth. They would become aware of the dynamics of the problems they face in the course of transition from high school to post-secondary institutions.
The issue of poor transition from high school to post-secondary institutions affects individuals with ASD significantly. An array of factors including forces within the individual, family, and development process triggers the problem. The incorporation of the support programs in institutions of higher learning since the early 1900s has not realized full success as denoted by poor enrollment of individuals with ASD. The persons with ASD who successfully enroll in schools record poor performance in their academic commitments. Surprisingly, at least 50% of students with disabilities have exceptional intellectual capabilities despite their poor performance in academics. The unsupportive environments in the post-secondary schools play a considerable role in influencing the dropping out of students with ASD, thereby undermining their ability to secure sustainable employment opportunities. Further, the poor enrollment of students with ASD weakens their ability to assimilate into the community due to overdependence on others. Therefore, the integration of support systems and programs that seek to empower students with ASD is crucial for the realization of the cohort’s educational and professional goals. Efforts including the provision of transition education, engagement of ASD students in research, the creation of support programs, and the establishment of general curricula are necessary for the improvement of the situation.
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