Phase 1: Exploring Institutional Knowledge and Student Experiences
In 2019- 2020, the Research Team surveyed personnel from college and university disability programs across the country to uncover consistent and effective academic and non- academic strategies for gifted students with ASD. Interviews were also conducted with successful 2e-ASD students from competitive colleges across the country, as well as with program staff and directors to identify core strategies that contribute to academic and non-academic success in high school and college.
Phase 2: Identifying Eligible High School Students
During the 2020-2021 school year, the Research Team will identify high-achieving high school sophomores and juniors with ASD in the northeast, as well as their teachers, to identify factors that contribute to college success based on findings from Phase 1. Researchers will study academic experiences, transition plans, and current support strategies for these students, and compare them against the strategies identified in Phase 1. The Research Team will also create criteria for identifying eligible 2e-ASD students at the high school level.
Phase 3: Implementation
In Summer 2021, the team will randomly select and invite 25 of the previously-identified 2e-ASD high school students to attend a 2-week college-prep summer program taught by UConn professors. These students will be coached in previously identified academic- and non-academic strategies, as part of the summer program, and will take UConn courses alongside non-ASD students. The academic progress of these students will be measured during their junior and senior years in high school and in college to determine the efficacy of these strategies.
Phase 4: Teacher Resource Development
During Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, and in collaboration with identified effective high school teachers, the Research Team will create a professional development (PD) module focusing on the most successful academic, non-academic, and enrichment strategies important for 2e-ASD students’ college success. Researchers will also provide the PD module to previously identified high school teachers of 2e-ASD students, and measure the module’s effect on teacher practices and outlook.
Phase 5: Outreach
By Fall 2024, the Research Team will develop and disseminate a wide variety of project resources including training materials, descriptions of evidence-based learning strategies, a series of articles and conference presentations, videos, web resources, and instructional content. Most material will be available on this project website.