Meeting the mental health needs of autistic college students: a survey of university and college counseling center clinicians.
OBJECTIVE: University and college counseling centers (UCCCs) are a front-line support for the mental health needs of autistic students, though little is known about clinician attitudes, comfort level, and training in autism. PARTICIPANTS: 89 UCCC clinicians were recruited via email listservs. METHODS: The authors developed a survey which assessed attitudes, comfort level, and training in autism. RESULTS: The majority of clinicians (82.0%, n = 73) had interacted with autistic students in the past year, and reported high levels of comfort with treating anxiety and depression. However, a smaller number reported confidence in their ability to diagnose autism. Training on autism emerged as an important deficit, as 31.5% of the clinicians denied receiving training either in their educational program or the UCCC. CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study, clinicians reported a discrepancy between self-reported levels of comfort with autistic college students and past training, highlighting continuing education as an important area for future intervention.
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