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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Exploring the Career Motivations, Strengths, and Challenges of Autistic and Non-autistic University Students: Insights From a Participatory Study
Author(s): Cheriyan, Chinnu
Shevchuk-Hill, Sergey
Riccio, Ariana
Vincent, Jonathan
Kapp, Steven K
Cage, Eilidh
Dwyer, Patrick
Kofner, Bella
Attwood, Helen
Gillespie-Lynch, Kristen
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Keywords: autistic
Issue Date: 2021
Date Deposited: 14-Oct-2021
Citation: Cheriyan C, Shevchuk-Hill S, Riccio A, Vincent J, Kapp SK, Cage E, Dwyer P, Kofner B, Attwood H & Gillespie-Lynch K (2021) Exploring the Career Motivations, Strengths, and Challenges of Autistic and Non-autistic University Students: Insights From a Participatory Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Art. No.: 719827.
Abstract: Supports for the growing number of autistic university students often focus on helping them succeed in university. However, even educated autistic people experience discrimination and other challenges which can make it very difficult for them to obtain meaningful jobs. Little remains known about how universities can better support their autistic students and alumni in overcoming barriers to meaningful employment. In this participatory study, a team of autistic and non-autistic researchers asked autistic (n = 92) and non-autistic (n = 774) university students about their career aspirations, strengths they believe will help them succeed in their “dream jobs,” and obstacles they expect to encounter. Autistic participants’ top goal in attending college was to improve their career prospects. However, relatively few autistic students reported learning career-specific skills at university. Autistic students were more likely to seek an academic job and less likely to seek a career in healthcare than non-autistic students. Autistic students highlighted writing skills and detail orientation as strengths that could help them succeed in their dream jobs more often than non-autistic students. However, they were also more likely to expect discrimination, social, and psychological difficulties to stand in the way of their dream jobs. These findings suggest that universities should prioritize experiential learning opportunities to help autistic (and non-autistic) students develop employment-related skills while providing mental health supports. Universities should demonstrate their commitment to supporting diverse learners by seeking out and hiring autistic professionals and by teaching their own staff and employers how to appreciate and support autistic colleagues.
DOI Link: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.719827
Rights: © 2021 Cheriyan, Shevchuk-Hill, Riccio, Vincent, Kapp, Cage, Dwyer, Kofner, Attwood and Gillespie-Lynch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY - The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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