A summer transition program: shifting expectations for a student with autism spectrum disorder
McWherter, Whitney Elizabeth
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As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise, large numbers of individuals with ASD are estimated to be entering young adulthood each year. While exploring factors that support success in adulthood, some studies have found that higher expectations of a parent, a teacher, and a student with ASD may predict more positive young adulthood outcomes for students. Additionally, summer transition programs have recently emerged as a means of providing services to transition-aged youth with ASD, to support their entering adulthood. Yet, little research has been done to understand how future expectations for a student with ASD are formed, specifically as they relate to participation in a summer transition program. A qualitative case study was conducted to better understand how a student with ASD, a parent, and a teacher described the student’s abilities and expectations for his future, before and after participating in a summer transition program. Although the student’s perspective did not change over time, both his parent and teacher shifted their understandings of his abilities and expectations for his future, becoming more nuanced in their descriptions and optimistic about the student’s future. Further research is needed to better understand the impacts and maintenance of these shifted understandings, as well as to identify specific transition program features that contributed to these shifts.