What support can I expect?

Universities can be a very supportive place.  Finding what support works best for you may need some experimentation, and may change during your time at university.

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There are more than 15,000 autistic student at UK universities.  Over the last 10 years universities have been developing specific supports for these students, alongside developing wellbeing for all students.

How could this affect me?

This can mean it feels like there are too many supports to choose from.  Remember that they do not have to be all used at once, it is like a menu.  If you have a Specialist (Autism) Mentor, a trusted family member or friend, use them to help choose the other supports you may want to try.

Practical tips

We recognise that not all autistic people would use the word ‘disabled’ about themselves. This includes a lot of the students we spoke to in our surveys. However, university Disability Services are the main way to access support for your study needs at the start of your course and beyond.

Contact the Disability Services Team

The Disability and dyslexia Service Team coordinate support across the University of Birmingham. disability@contacts.bham.ac.uk

  • They can help applications for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) that can fund a Specialist (Autism) Mentor, useful organisational software or further study support.
  • They can inform lecturers of the best ways to support you with a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP).
  • They have a useful FAQ page
  • If you wish to register with them, you can do so here.  If you do not have a diagnosis letter, do contact them for more advice.

Organise a Specialist (Autism) Mentor

The DSA can fund a Specialist (Autism) Mentor to meet with every week.  These mentors are there to “remove barriers to learning”, they might be able to help with anything that is getting oil the way of you being the best student you can be.  Disability services can help you get this organised before (or after) your arrival.

Make contact with your personal academic tutor

Every undergraduate and taught postgraduate has a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT).  These tutors can answer questions about your studies and provide advice on submitting essays, reading lists and course choices.  If they haven’t made contact with you in the first few weeks, do email your department to find out who they are.  They may have regular office hours, if so it is worth your time going to introduce yourself and talk about upcoming assignments.

Explore the universities self-help guides and apps

The wellbeing team at the UoB suggests a number of wellbeing apps to try to regulate mood and motivation.  It also provides a range of self-help guides to access for when times are hard.

Stay in contact with helpful friends and family

Students who have moved to university have found it helpful to set a reminder to phone home every week.

Know how to access urgent support

Whilst we all hope for the best, we can also make sure we know what to do in a crisis.  Do bookmark the UoB’s Urgent Support page, just in case.