Sandra Harris

Publication Date


Document Type



Master of Arts in Education (MA)

MA Concentration

Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorder


Asperger's Syndrome, transition planning for students with high functioning autism, transition to college, college bound students with Asperger' s Syndrome, college success for students with Asperger's Syndrome, transition needs of students with Asperger's Syndrome, postsecondary transition planning


Linda Haymes, Pamela A. Redmond, Jim O'Connor


Asperger's Syndrome (AS) manifests itself in individuals as a sustained impairment in social interaction and communication, and is defined as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). High school students with AS often thrive in the structured setting of high school and can be high achieving academically. Both students and parents assume this success will carry them through to a successful college experience. Special education teachers and others on the Individual Education Program (IEP) team may not perceive a need to focus on transition planning due to the student's success at the high school level. However, this fails to meet the needs of students with AS who lack the soft skills to be successful in the unstructured college environment. Parents and teachers of college bound students with AS need to understand the differences in expectations, support, and sophisticated social situations that will be facing first year college students. While colleges have increased their awareness of this population, and have taken steps to train and educate faculty, high school special education staff are uniquely placed to offer support to families for four years prior to the transition. This project was designed to help those in transition planning better understand the challenges that students with AS face. The goal of this guidebook is to give teachers and families a systematic and collaborative approach to improve transition planning, and ultimately provide the college bound student with AS a greater chance of success.