Academic coaching and Transition to College for students with ASD


Robert Bolger

Faculty Mentor(s)

Naomi Petersen (Accessibility Studies)


Students on the Autism Spectrum often have great difficulty transitioning from high school to college (for a variety of reasons). The dropout rate for these students is troubling and the challenges are immense. One way to help these students transition in a way that will optimize the chance of success is to use an academic coaching model (based on the coaching principles of the International Coach Federation). I believe that using this model will better help evaluate the student’s classroom needs in order to assist the classroom teacher to accommodate the student based on their particular way of learning, their academic interests and their way of showing mastery of a subject. With the goal of student success in mind, I am developing a “transition to high school” coaching model that will take the students’ needs and learning styles as paramount so as to help the classroom teacher provide the tools necessary to maximize success and to accommodate full academic inclusion for all students. The coaching model offers a specific set of tools that allows the coach to get to know the student in a way the classroom teacher cannot do. The coach serves as an intermediate between the student and classroom teacher in order to assure full accessibility.

Keywords: Transition to College, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Academic Coaching, Classroom Accessibility


9 thoughts on “Academic coaching and Transition to College for students with ASD”

  1. Hello Robert, great job on your presentation! I truly appreciate the topic you have chosen, and your passion to bring awareness to this most worthy cause. I think that your advocacy for students with Autism is commendable in a world where they are most often overlooked. A universal designed classroom would change the students lives who enter it, and the world they would go into. All students have potential and you allow us to see this, great job Robert, thank you!

  2. Amazing presentation Robert! This will be helpful for all students with disabilities, including those with ASD. You are right that education should be student centered, not teacher centered. I know teachers work hard to educate their students, but if they aren’t inclusive they are doing their students and school a disservice. Having a coach help create a path for the learner and the teacher is a good way to ensure school compliance with laws and policies without the sole responsibility resting on one participant. Thank you for this hard work!

  3. Pam McMullin-Messier

    Excellent presentation on an important issue – retention of students with ASD needs to be addressed further.

  4. Haleena Necessary

    This is a great presentation! You chose an important topic needing to be addressed and solved, and you were very clear with why this issue needs to be fixed and how it can be helped. Students deserve more respect and understanding in their schools, and having additional help creates a more equitable environment.


  5. Hi Robert,
    Thanks for bringing this issue to awareness. I didn’t know that there was such a low graduation rate for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I thought your recommendations on academic coaching and student centered teaching are great ideas! I especially like the idea of working with the student to find out how they best learn and find ways they best show mastery. There have been so many times in school where I felt that I understood the information well, but wasn’t the best test taker so I felt like it wasn’t an accurate representation of what I learned. I think this would be very beneficial for students with ASD, along with any other student. Great job!

  6. Hello Robert,
    I enjoyed watching your presentation! I found it to be thorough and concise. I thought you held yourself well in your recording and spoke eloquently on your topic. You appeared to me as very knowledgeable and professional. I loved the imagery and use of statistics. By the end of your presentation, I believe that you truly had a clear purpose and goal and now I can’t wait until our next Progress Reports are due so I can read more about your topic!
    Great work!

  7. Hi Robert,
    I really like your idea for offering personalized accommodations and approaches for each individual student according to their needs. I think that could be done in addition to or expanding on universal design.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Robert!
    I was really looking forward to watching your presentation! I happened to notice your original recording was about 22 minutes, I would love to watch the full thing! Thank you for addressing this issue surrounding students with ASD 🙂

  9. Hi Robert! I have thought that your research sounded interesting since I first heard about it this quarter. I love how you emphasized the importance of making sure that education is student-focused rather than teacher-centered, as this is very important for all students but especially for those with any kind of struggle! My little sister has severe learning disabilities and would greatly benefit from the type of learning environment that you described here.

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