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ADCET Webinar: Transition to Higher Education for Autistic Students

ADCET was joined by Alison Nuske for this webinar. Alison provided an overview of a recent systematic literature review exploring the experiences of transition to higher education for autistic students, as reported by autistic students and family members of autistic students. Alison discussed the findings of this review and their implications for future practice in university settings to improve the first-year experiences of autistic students in higher education.

Using a bioecological theory model approach the review outlines the various interacting factors which influence the transition to higher education for autistic students. Examining these systems highlights the complex nature of the transition experiences of autistic students and the varying elements impacting on the first-year experience. The current study seeks to explore these complex systems by investigating the transition experiences of autistic students in Australia.

The webinar provides information about phase one of the study examining the barriers and facilitators to transition to university for autistic students. Phase one of this study involves an online survey for autistic university students, family members of autistic university students, and professional/academic university staff members in Australia.

This research has incorporated input from autistic community members in the development of research methods and research tools. This webinar discusses the processes involved and highlight the importance of involving autistic individuals in the research process. Further information was also be provided regarding current opportunities for participation in this study for autistic students, their family members, and professional and academic university staff.

This webinar provides an excellent opportunity for disability practitioners, in particular university and TAFE disability services staff to hear about current research with implications for supporting autistic students in their transition to university. Disability practitioners will learn about the current evidence to inform best practice supports and services for helping autistic students during their transition to university and considerations for potential barriers that may be impacting on disclosure and consequently on support provision. University disability services staff will also have the opportunity to find out more about the current research study and ways in which they, their fellow university staff, and their students can be involved to help us to better understand the barriers and facilitators for autistic students in their transition to and first year of university in Australia.


Alison Nuske

Alison is a PhD candidate at Flinders University exploring the experiences of autistic students in their transition to university in Australia. Alison is particularly interested in the factors that promote or impede successful transition to university for autistic students and identifying successful strategies to support autistic students during this transition.

Alison has over 15 years experience in the disability field with a strong interest in supporting autistic individuals to successfully participate in education settings. She has worked as a developmental educator, and ASD consultant at Autism South Australia; and was a Disability Advisor at the University of South Australia for over 7 years. Alison was involved in the development and delivery of the Supporting Transition And Retention (STAR) program at the University of South Australia; supporting autistic students in their transition to university. 

Alison is currently an Associate Lecturer at Flinders University, while she undertakes her PhD studies.

Resources mentioned during the webinar

Inclusive research practice: engaging autistic individuals and their families in research within Autism CRC 

Further information about Alison's research on the transition to university for students on the autism spectrum