Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher & Adult Education

Committee Chair

Wendy Griswold

Committee Member

dith Gnanadass

Committee Member

Eric Bailey

Committee Member



Autism is a neurobiological disorder characterized by impairment in social interaction, communication, and repetitive stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autism rates have continued to increase in the United States and a cause or cure has not yet been found. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder increased from the rate of 1 in 150 in 2000 to 1 in 88 in 2008. When students in high school desire to transition from secondary to postsecondary education, college brochures, and other marketing advertisements appear to target the general education student. College advertisements rarely target students with neurobiological disorders such as autism. It was not until the early 2000s, when celebrities like the iconic comedian Gilbert Gottfried and singer Toni Braxton spoke out about their children’s autism diagnosis, that the public began to learn more about this disorder. This study evaluated the inclusive practices of university administrators and staff in the department that assist undergraduate students with different abilities such as autism spectrum disorder at a university in the mid-South. The inclusive practices that were evaluated included transitioning from high school to higher education, accommodations for the classroom curriculum, the perspectives of parent and student feedback in policymaking, and campus social life. Furthermore, by using the Critical Disability Theory as a theoretical framework and the process/implementation evaluation method, I understood how university administrators and staff generated cooperative connections with undergraduate autistic students to address matters that are inclusive to the needs of undergraduate students with autism and how this student population is impacted by the development and implementation of the policies that have been designed to support them in their educational journey.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access