Supporting Autistic College Students: Examining the Mentoring, Organization and Social Support for Autism Inclusion on Campus (MOSSAIC) Program

Jill Locke, Anthony Osuna, Raine J. Myrvold, Jennifer Schoffer Closson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent trends suggest that autistic young adults are increasingly accessing postsecondary education than in years past. However, these students often face unique challenges that negatively impact their college experience resulting in high dropout. The Mentoring, Organization and Social Support for Autism Inclusion on Campus (MOSSAIC) Program is a peer-mentorship college transition program intended to support autistic students with executive functioning, social, and self-advocacy skills. This study investigated the experiences of 13 autistic mentees and 12 non-autistic mentors enrolled in the MOSSAIC program. Program feedback was collected using semi-structured interviews in order to understand student experiences, highlight benefits, and identify areas of improvement. Participants reported a general positive experience and improved skills in the domains of socialization, executive functioning, academic performance, and professional development. The most common suggestion for the program was the inclusion of autistic peer mentors. Mentees noted difficulty relating with non-autistic peers and feeling burdened with the need to educate their mentor on how to support autistic adults. These data provide valuable insight into how colleges can better improve support for autistic college students to ensure postsecondary success. Future peer mentorship programs should consider recruiting neurodiverse mentors from diverse backgrounds to improve congruence between mentor and mentee identities.

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Intervention
  • Peer mentorship
  • Postsecondary education

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Supporting Autistic College Students: Examining the Mentoring, Organization and Social Support for Autism Inclusion on Campus (MOSSAIC) Program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this