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Experiences of University Life for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome: a comparative study between Spain and England

Casement, S., Carpio, C., Forrester-Jones, Rachel (2016) Experiences of University Life for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome: a comparative study between Spain and England. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21 (1). pp. 73-89. ISSN 1360-3116. E-ISSN 1464-5173. (doi:10.1080/13603116.2016.1184328) (KAR id:52946)


Research has consistently shown that young people with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) are likely to experience increased anxiety during new social situations; yet, studies have been regionally and culturally bound. The aim of this study was to explore how higher education students with AS experienced attending university in two European countries: the UK and Spain. The objective was to find out if experiences differed between the two countries in relation to contrasting support arrangements and what kinds of interventions might aid students’ social well-being at university, an important learning outcome for future practice. This small-scale comparative exploratory study incorporated life-history interviews with nine students with AS. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four superordinate themes significant to both groups of students in Spain and the UK emerged from the data: social relationships, ‘special interests’, ‘environment’ and ‘support mechanisms’. Students with AS need and want clear, unambiguous and structured information from academics; support to get to know others in ‘small special interest groups’; more designated ‘quiet zones’ across campuses; and above all, a move away from ableist notions of AS. To our knowledge, this is the only Spanish–UK comparative study of university students with AS.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13603116.2016.1184328
Uncontrolled keywords: Asperger’s Syndrome, higher education, student experiences, Spain, England
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Jo Ruffels
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 11:28 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 05:31 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Forrester-Jones, Rachel.

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