Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Human Development, Family Sciences and Rural Sociology


Becnel, Jennifer

Committee Member/Reader

Mosley, Jacquelyn

Committee Member/Second Reader

Boggs-Riley, Devin


There are an increasing number of emerging adults with neurodiversity entering higher education. However, little is known about benefits and barriers to programs designed to aid in student success for neurodivergent emerging adults. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of neurodivergent emerging adults enrolled in a non-degree-seeking 4-year program. Participants were recruited to complete an interview assessing their lived experiences, the benefits and barriers, and the transition out of the program and into adulthood. Important themes emerged including the importance of mentors and program staff, the role of identity/confidence, development of life and social skills, the changing relationships of families, and the impact of the program. An exploratory theme included the stigma associated with neurodiversity. These results are important given the prevalence of neurodiversity. Additionally, this study highlights how similar emerging adults with neurodiversity are to neurotypical emerging adults. They have similar aspirations and barriers during this developmental period. Future studies should continue to examine and refine programs like EMPOWER to support our neurodiverse young adults.


Neurodiversity, Emerging Adults, Transition out of College, Transition into Adulthood