Bellon-Harn, M.L., Smith, D.J., Dockens, A.L., Manchaiah, V. & Hartwell Azios, J.
Reading Improvement, 55(1), 7-15.
Publication year: 2018

Abstract

Problem: Although many young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are intellectually capable of pursuing college degrees, a high percentage either do not enroll in or do not graduate from twoyear or four-year institutions. Online student support services may uniquely support the higher education goals of this population. Understanding current accessibility of Internet-based information will help institutions develop targeted resources. Method: This study assessed the quantity, quality, and readability of such Internet-based information. Quantity of websites was determined using the search strategy provided by Laplantc-Levesque and colleagues (2012). An 11-item criteria checklist (Hasan & Abuclrub. 2011) was used for content quality evaluation. Readability of the website text was assessed using Oleander Software (http://www.oleandersolutions. com/). Descriptive statistics were reported. Results: Of 116 identified websites, only 12 included information directed to young adults with ASD. Most websites stated clear, relevant aims. However, information related to unique areas of needs of college students with ASD were minimal. Readability levels were high, which is indicative of complex, abstract language. Conclusions: Results suggest increased attention to the quantity, quality, and readability of online information for college students with ASD seeking student support services is needed. Specific recommendations for online student support service programming are included.