Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Blackbourn, Richard L.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


This study researched the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the potential impact ASD on postsecondary human capital development in California Central Valley. The problem of the study was to determine the perceptions of parents, high school educators, and community college educators’ regarding awareness of and satisfaction with college transition support services for ASD students. The study also examined respondent’s opinions regarding delivery modes and importance of support services topics for ASD high students transitioning to community colleges. The participants in the study included parents, high school educators, and community college educators in California’s Tulare and Fresno Counties. The criteria for participation in the study were parents and educators of 18-21 year old ASD individuals with an intellectual capacity in the Asperger’s range based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and Intelligence Quotient Score in inclusive educational environments. The study’s questionnaire utilized the ThinkCollege Theoretical Framework that identifies academic access, career development, campus membership, and selfvocacy as key support service that assist students navigating the college transition. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze respondent’s perceptions. ANOVA was performed at the 0.05 confidence level to test for a statistically significant difference between each group’s perceived awareness and satisfaction. A total of 63 participants completed the Internet-based surveys out of 69 responses. The awareness and satisfaction data indicate a trend towards high school and community college educators both having similar perception of community college support services and delivery modes. All respondents believed that individual support services have the greatest impact on academic access, career development, and campus membership for ASD students. A key finding is that there is statistically significant evidence substantiating that parental perceptions are different from those of community college educators towards awareness and satisfaction with community college student support services. It is concluded that communicating expectations and removing silos could possibly improve or eliminate the awareness and satisfaction perception differences between parents and community college educators.



postsecondary education||human capital development||college students with disabilities||Autism Spectrum Disordera