Post Secondary - Center Study

How is VR supporting higher education for youth with intellectual disabilities and autism?

Postsecondary education and its correlation with obtaining more favorable employment outcomes has never been more important, as an increasing number of jobs require some form of postsecondary education. As such, there is increasing interest for youth and young adults with disabilities to effectively access and complete postsecondary education. The connection between higher education and employment for people with disabilities is a growing area of study, however, much of this literature focuses on students with the disabilities most prevalent in college attendees (ex: learning and physical disabilities, mental health challenges). There is much less research on youth with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A), who have some of the greatest employment challenges. In particular, current literature is lacking regarding the role of the VR program in promoting postsecondary education for students with ID/A. No known reports describe or explore how institutions of higher education (IHEs) and VR have collaborated to jointly serve youth with ID/A.

Because of the importance of the SVRAs as a source of funding and support for transitioning youth, a better understanding of the VR program’s role in promoting postsecondary education as a path toward employment is critical for VR professionals and policymakers to determine which postsecondary education options should be available to youth with ID, autism, and other disabilities. Results of this study will inform the development of effective VR intervention and practices to support postsecondary education and employment outcomes for youth with ID and autism.