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World Autism Acceptance Week (27th March – 2nd April) is fast approaching, so we’re focusing on some top tips to help those with autism throughout their studies.
Life at college and university can bring a lot of change and that includes both exciting times and challenges too. If you have autism, you might be worried about how this will impact student life. But remember that you are not alone, around one in 100 people in the UK are autistic. There will be many others studying alongside you who are going through the same thing.
Autism can impact your daily experience in various ways, for example, you might have difficulties in social interactions, struggles managing emotions or overstimulation to light, sounds or temperature. You might have experienced how these things can have an impact at school previously. So in this article, we’ll look at how you can support yourself throughout your life as a student.
Get in touch with your college or university to find out how they can support you throughout your studies. Most colleges and universities will carry out an assessment to see how your learning is affected.
From this assessment, they will be able to see how they can help. Different colleges and universities will vary in the kinds of things they offer. But some of the most common include:
Some universities and colleges will offer mentors to either support you in a weekly study session or help you get settled into life on campus. Your mentor will be available to help you navigate your studies and answer any questions you might have about student life. Having this guidance can be a real confidence booster knowing you have someone to turn to if you’re worried about anything.
Many campuses will run weekly or monthly support groups for those with Autism and other neurodiverse conditions. Having this community allows you to share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going for.
If you’re relocating to study at university, try to move before your studies officially start. This will give you a chance to get familiar with your new surroundings before your timetable begins.
Many education providers will have support services in place such as counselling or pastoral teams who are on hand to help students with any issues they might be facing. This means that you might be able to access counselling support for free.
While you might be apprehensive about accessing these services, it can be a huge benefit. Counselling support provides you with a safe space to get things off your chest without worrying about judgement from others. You can discuss any concerns you might have and talk with someone you can trust about how you feel.
Some colleges and universities might have equipment available such as laptops with visual learning tools, a voice recorder and speech recognition software. Many students find that it can be helpful to listen to lessons or lectures back after class so they can slow down the tempo and listen to what the tutor is saying more clearly (but make sure you check with the tutor beforehand that this is allowed).
If you have a Student Assistance Programme with Health Assured, remember that we are here to support you. You can get in touch with us via the My Healthy Advantage App or helpline. Find your helpline number on our portal.
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