Masters Capstone Project
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Research findings show Autistic students struggle with communication and social interaction and are at risk of failing and/or dropping out of school. Additionally, the social construct of disability and ableism negatively affect the inclusion of Autistic students. While conducting research that included interviewing UW Tacoma students and staff, I learned there are zero Autistic-specific services, support groups, or Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), and there are more than 29 Autistic students attending UW Tacoma. Disability Resources for Students (DRS) reported there are 29 professionally diagnosed Autistic students receiving academic accommodations based on their official autism diagnosis. Not all Autistic students have received an official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is a UW Tacoma DRS requirement to receive accommodations based on autism, so not all Autistic students are receiving supportive services at UW Tacoma. Due to the lack of an official autism diagnosis, self-diagnosed Autistic students may experience even less inclusion and success than professionally diagnosed Autistic students who qualify for academic accommodations. The proposed intervention, Square Pegs On Campus: Autistic Peer Social Support Group, will be available for self-diagnosed and professionally diagnosed students who are Autistic, on the autism spectrum, and neurodiverse.
Swanson, Heather Dawn, "Square Pegs On Campus: Autism and Inclusion at University of Washington Tacoma" (2021). MSW Capstones. 25.