As there is an increasing number of individuals with the diagnosis of autism attending university, the importance of acceptance from peers has been highlighted as a vital factor for individuals with ASD to achieve success. This study sought to examine the relation between university students’ knowledge of ASD and their likely acceptance of peers with ASD, as well as to examine the effects of autistic traits, subjects of study, previous experiences and gender on knowledge of ASD and openness towards peers on the autistic spectrum. A sample of 157 university students completed an online survey assessing knowledge about ASD, openness towards peers with ASD and the tendency of autistic traits, along with questions regarding their personal experiences with autistic people. Results indicated a relatively high openness towards peers with ASD in university students, however, no significant relationship was found between knowledge and openness towards ASD. Further, students who had previous contacts with individuals with ASD and those who study social science degrees were generally more knowledgeable about the disorder. However, findings from the present study did not find significant effects of gender, subjects/degree of study and previous experiences on openness. It was concluded that the results might have implications for interventions and programmes to improve peer acceptance and the overall university experiences of students on the autistic spectrum by increasing social interactions between individuals with and without ASD.
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