Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Briel, L., & Getzel, E.E. (2014). In their own words: The career planning experiences of college students with ASD. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 40 (3), 195-202.
Title:  In their own words: The career planning experiences of college students with ASD
Authors:  Briel, L., & Getzel, E.E.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  More individuals with disabilities are attending colleges and universities however the unemployment rate among these individuals is still high. It is important that students with disabilities use their campus career services in order to be competitive in the workforce. However, campus career services are underutilized by students with disabilities. There is a growing number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in post-secondary institutions and little research exists on their experiences with campus career services and career planning.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to explore the career planning experiences of college students with ASD through interviews.
Setting:  Interview locations included libraries, a disability support services office, or the interviewer’s office.
Study sample:  Participants were recruited from various universities throughout Virginia through Disability Support Services Offices. Eighteen students with ASD were recruited for this study. Aged between 18-43, 15 of the participants were male and 3 were female. Most of the participants were Caucasian. Participants included one graduate student, five juniors, five sophomores, five freshman, and two recent graduates. Grade point averages ranged from 2.0 to 3.76.
Data collection and analysis:  Interviews were conducted face-to-face with participants. Participants had freedom during the interview process to get in depth about their career planning experiences. Themes were identified by the researchers.
Findings:  Four major themes emerged from the interviews: Choosing a major, use of career centers, self-disclosure, and career related services and supports. Participants had a wide variety of ways to choose their major with family members being the most mentioned way. Very few participants used their campus career centers but those that did were satisfied with their experiences. Two thirds of the participants were using classroom accommodations but only one disclosed her disability to an employer. Many of the participants indicated interest in career and social support services.
Conclusions:  Despite the interest of the participants in receiving support services very few actually utilized their career centers. Career counseling professionals should be aware of this gap.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Populations served:  Post-secondary
Outcomes:  Other