Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Participation Among College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- 3.7k Downloads
Little research has examined the popular belief that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely than the general population to gravitate toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, a nationally representative sample of students with an ASD in special education. Findings suggest that students with an ASD had the highest STEM participation rates although their college enrollment rate was the third lowest among 11 disability categories and students in the general population. Disproportionate postsecondary enrollment and STEM participation by gender, family income, and mental functioning skills were found for young adults with an ASD. Educational policy implications are discussed.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Postsecondary enrollment College major Young adult Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
This research was supported by Grant HRD-1130088 from the National Science Foundation, Grant R324A120012 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Autism Speaks, and Grant R01 MH086489 from the National Institute of Mental Health. However, any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the positions or polices of the funding agencies.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 14 sites, United States. Morbidity and mortality weekly report Surveillance summaries, 61(No.SS-03), 1–19.Google Scholar
- Chen, X. & Weko, T. (2009). Students who study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in postsecondary education. US. Department of Education, NCES #2009-161. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009161.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Donaldson, J. B., & Zagler, D. (2010). Mathematics interventions for students with high-functioning autism/asperger’s syndrome. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(6), 40–46.Google Scholar
- Jarrold, C., & Routh, D. A. (1998). Is there really a link between engineering and autism? A reply to Baron-Cohen et al., Autism, 1997, 1(1), 101–109. Autism, 2(3), 281–289.Google Scholar
- Moore, A. S. (2006). A dream not denied: Students on the spectrum. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/education/edlife/traits.html. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Morton, O. (2001). Think different? Wired, 9(12). http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/baron-cohen.html. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Nagle, K., Marder, C., & Schiller, E. (2009). Research in disabilities education program evaluation: Study 1 methods and results. Arlington, VA: SRI International. http://www.sri.com/policy/csted/reports/university/documents/NSF-RDE_Study1_Methods-ResultsReport_04-09.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- National Science Foundation. (2006). Investing in America's future: Strategic plan FY 2006-2011. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2006/nsf0648/NSF-06-48.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- National Science Foundation. (2009). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2009 (NSF 09-305). Arlington, VA: Author. www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Ross, P. E. (2006). When engineers’ genes collide. IEEE Spectrum. http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/ethics/when-engineers-genes-collide. Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Safer, M. (2012, January 15). Jake: Math prodigy proud of his autism. CBC News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57358845/jake-math-prodigy-proud-of-his-autism/ Accessed 26 June 2012.
- Wagner, M., Kutash, K., Duchnowski, A. J., & Epstein, M. H. (2005). The special education elementary longitudinal study and the national longitudinal transition study: Study designs and implications for children and youth with emotional disturbance. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorder, 13, 25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar